Jazzwax List: Detective Jazz


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In the very late 1950s and early '60s, jazz, TV and the movies merged. During those years, movies and TV shows increasingly featured swinging big band jazz for themes and incidental music—particularly action films and detective shows. The hipper the leading man, the cooler the orchestration. Here are five of my favorites albums of this genre (please feel free to add others to the Comments section):

  • Complete TV Action Jazz (1959-60)Mundell Lowe
  • Movie & TV Themes (1962)Elmer Bernstein 
  • Impact (1959)—Buddy Morrow
  • Jazz Themes for Cops & Robbers (1959)Leith Stevens and Johnny Mandel
  • Route 66 and Other Themes (1965)Nelson Riddle

JazzWax clips: Here's Mundell Lowe's arrangement of the theme to TV's 77 Sunset Strip...

Here's Nelson Riddle's Naked City theme (also known as Somewhere in the Night)...

And here's the M Squad theme by an orchestra under the direction of Buddy Morrow...

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
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