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Newly Published: Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen

New on our bookshelf:

Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen, 1950–1970: A History and Discography
Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen Since 1971: A History and Discography
Derrick Bang

Henry Mancini’s Peter Gunn theme. Lalo Schifrin’s Mission: Impossible theme. John Barry’s arrangement of the James Bond theme. These iconic melodies have remained a part of the pop culture landscape since their debuts in the late 1950s and early ’60s: a “golden decade” that highlighted an era when movie studios and TV production companies employed full orchestral ensembles to provide a jazz backdrop for the suspenseful adventures of secret agents, private detectives, cops, spies and heist-minded criminals. Hundreds of additional films and television shows made during this period were propelled by similarly swinging title themes and underscores, many of which have (undeservedly) faded into obscurity. This meticulously researched book traces the embryonic use of jazz in mainstream entertainment from the early 1950s—when conservative viewers still considered this genre “the devil’s music”—to its explosive heyday throughout the 1960s. Fans frustrated by the lack of attention paid to jazz soundtrack composers—including Jerry Goldsmith, Edwin Astley, Roy Budd, Quincy Jones, Dave Grusin, Jerry Fielding and many, many others—will find solace in these pages (along with all the information needed to enhance one’s music library). The exploration of action jazz continues in this book’s companion volume, Crime and Action Jazz on Screen Since 1971.

Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen Since 1971

Henry Mancini’s Peter Gunn theme. Lalo Schifrin’s Mission: Impossible theme. Isaac Hayes’ theme from Shaft. These iconic melodies have remained a part of the pop culture landscape since their debuts back when movie studios and TV production companies employed full orchestral ensembles to provide a jazz backdrop for the suspenseful adventures of secret agents, private detectives, cops, spies and heist-minded criminals. Hundreds of additional films and television shows made from the mid–1950s and beyond have been propelled by similarly swinging title themes and underscores, many of which have (undeservedly) faded into obscurity. This meticulously researched book begins with Hayes’ game-changing music for Shaft, and honors the careers of traditional jazz composers who—as the 1970s gave way to the ’80s and beyond—resolutely battled against the pernicious influx of synth, jukebox scores and a growing corporate disinterest in lavish ensembles. Fans frustrated by the lack of attention paid to jazz soundtrack composers—including Mort Stevens, Laurie Johnson, Mike Post, Earle Hagen, David Shire, Elmer Bernstein and many, many others—will find solace in these pages (along with all the information needed to enhance one’s music library). But this is only half the story; the saga’s origins are discussed in this book’s companion volume, Crime and Action Jazz on Screen: 1950-1970.

Crime and Spy Jazz on Screen, 1950–1970

Henry Mancini’s Peter Gunn theme. Lalo Schifrin’s Mission: Impossible theme. John Barry’s arrangement of the James Bond theme. These iconic melodies have remained a part of the pop culture landscape since their debuts in the late 1950s and early ’60s: a “golden decade” that highlighted an era when movie studios and TV production companies employed full orchestral ensembles to provide a jazz backdrop for the suspenseful adventures of secret agents, private detectives, cops, spies and heist-minded criminals. Hundreds of additional films and television shows made during this period were propelled by similarly swinging title themes and underscores, many of which have (undeservedly) faded into obscurity. This meticulously researched book traces the embryonic use of jazz in mainstream entertainment from the early 1950s—when conservative viewers still considered this genre “the devil’s music”—to its explosive heyday throughout the 1960s. Fans frustrated by the lack of attention paid to jazz soundtrack composers—including Jerry Goldsmith, Edwin Astley, Roy Budd, Quincy Jones, Dave Grusin, Jerry Fielding and many, many others—will find solace in these pages (along with all the information needed to enhance one’s music library). The exploration of action jazz continues in this book’s companion volume, Crime and Action Jazz on Screen Since 1971.