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Jazz Score: 'Una Bella Grinta'


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One of my favorite and little-known jazz scores for a mid-1960s film was recorded in Italy. The film was the 1965 Italian drama Una Bella Grinta (The Reckless), written and directed by Giuliano Montaldo, who followed up with Grand Slam in 1967, starring Edward G. Robinson, Klaus Kinski and Janet Leigh. The spectacular music for Una Bella Grinta was composed and arranged by Piero Umiliani, who helped usher in the jazz-saturated European film score in the 1960 and '70s.

Most notable here are the musicians on tracks 7 through 13. They include Gato Barbieri (tenor saxophonist and conductor), Enrico Rava (trumpet), Franco D'Andrea (piano), Gianni Foccia (bass) and Eugenia Munari (drums). Barbieri delivers forceful, biting solos with a Wayne Shorter feel while Rava channels Kenny Dorham and D'Andrea offers shades of Herbie Hancock. If I was blindfold-testing you, you probably would have guessed that it was a Blue Note session from the '60s.

Umiliani wrote for 150 films, including Oceans Twelve. He died in 2001.

JazzWax tracks: You'll find the Una Bella Grinta soundtrack here.

JazzWax clips: Here are the opening credits to Una Bella Grinta with a vocal version of Umiliani's theme by Don Powell...

Here's Hammond Blues from the soundtrack...

And here's Gato Barbieri on Ballata Della Bassa Padana...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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