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New compilation: Jazz On Film... Crime Jazz (featuring e.g. original Checkmate, M-Squad and Peter Gunn album releases)


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Moochin About Records has been releasing a series of jazz collections showcasing jazz music used in films, not compilations of jazz pieces used in movies, but scores specifically composed by jazz musicians and film composers alike for movies and TV series. Jazz On Film...Crime Jazz features scores from various TV shows from 1950s and 60s in the style that has become called "crime jazz" which was the mode of the day to express the dark, gritty and suspenseful world of these detective shows and thrillers. What makes this 8 CD compilation especially interesting to John Williams fans is that it features music from Checkmate (the original LP programme already previously released by FSM) and M-Squad (this album has 3 selections composed by Williams) but there are other quite familiar composers among the people featured here like Henry Mancini, George Dunning and Elmer Bernstein.

Crime-Jazz-CD-1.jpg

This Unique and rare collection showcases some of the finest music and memorable U.S TV shows of a generation… The 1950’s a new style of musical score was introduced to film soundtracks & T.V… Previously, film music meant sweeping orchestral themes or traditional Broadway-style musicals. With the growing popularity of bebop and hard bop as the sound of urban cool, studios began latching onto the now beat as a way to make their movies seem gritty or "street."

In some cases, they hired actual jazz musicians to do the job, such as Duke Ellington for Paris Blues. More often they hired young composers who grafted jazz elements into big band arrangements (Elmer Bernstein being perhaps the foremost practitioner). Although jazz was used for all sorts of film and television shows, it seemed to meld best with stories of danger—hard-nosed detective tales, studies of urban corruption, or spy thrillers. While not exactly on the same level of artistic expression as the leading jazz artists of their respective times, these compositions nevertheless convey the emotions demanded by the shows they backed. Many of them even employed the talents of great players like Stan Getz, Shorty Rogers, Quincy Jones, and Shelly Manne.

Here are the scores presented on this compilation.

77 Sunset Strip
Warren Barker

Hawaiian Eye
Warren Barker

M~Squad
Stanley Wilson

Staccato
Elmer Bernstein

Mikey Spillanes Mike Hammer
Stan Purdy Orchestra

Music From Mike Hammer
Skip Martin

Checkmate
Johnny Williams

Shotgun Slade
Stanley Wilson Orchestra

Peter Gunn
Henry Mancini

Mr Lucky & Mr Lucky Goes Latin
Henry Mancini

The Naked City
George Dunning

The Untouchables
Nelson Riddle

Richard Diamond
Pete Rugolo

Bourbon St Beat
Don Ralke

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Damn -- for a moment there, I thought this would feature more music (or rather, the original scores) from CHECKMATE. Maybe even some of the other things Williams did in the same genre -- like M SQUAD, MARKHAM, some of the anthology shows. Still, it looks like a splendid set for fans of that particular sound.

The SHOTGUN SLADE album, in particular, is a gem.

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Well it is a welcome one for me as I did not own the M-Squad album before. :)

I might also pick up the first Jazz On Film album which contains 5 discs and several classic film noir scores like A Streetcar Named Desire, The Man With the Golden Arm and Sweet Smell of Success.

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These will be the complete albums or just some tracks from the previously released cds?

Because if it's the complete albums, i might be interested too since I don't have M-Squad.

(when I saw the title and I didn't know it's TV shows, I secretely hoped for Daddy-O :( . Maybe they should rename the box to Jazz on TV?)

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These will be the complete albums or just some tracks from the previously released cds?

Because if it's the complete albums, i might be interested too since I don't have M-Squad.

(when I saw the title and I didn't know it's TV shows, I secretely hoped for Daddy-O :( . Maybe they should rename the box to Jazz on TV?)

To my knowledge these are mostly the original album releases of their respective soundtracks. As I mention above in my post the original M-Squad album contained 3 Williams tracks. As far as I know these are not expansions or complete score releases.

I am going to get this set today so I'll let you know the specifics.

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Again I am not 100 % certain but the Checkmate album seems to be exactly the same as the old soundtrack LP programme. Orchestra and all. But I could be wrong. Considering they are actually advertising this as a world premiere (this of course could be erroneous info).

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Again I am not 100 % certain but the Checkmate album seems to be exactly the same as the old soundtrack LP programme. Orchestra and all. But I could be wrong. Considering they are actually advertising this as a world premiere (this of course could be erroneous info).

I don't understand.

The FSM release isn't exactly like the LP album?

I see they have the same tracks.

http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/title/18482/Checkmate

Are they alternate recordings?

By the way, i see there is another LP and CD from Contemporary with different durations of the tracks (much longer).

I don't know what is this..

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Again I am not 100 % certain but the Checkmate album seems to be exactly the same as the old soundtrack LP programme. Orchestra and all. But I could be wrong. Considering they are actually advertising this as a world premiere (this of course could be erroneous info).

I don't understand.

The FSM release isn't exactly like the LP album?

I see they have the same tracks.

http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/title/18482/Checkmate

Are they alternate recordings?

Yes the FSM release is the old LP soundtrack album and presumably the same that is on this Crime Jazz compilation.

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Yup, they've obviously not heard of the FSM release when they did that blurb.

This does seem to be the first reissue of M SQUAD, however, since it was first released on CD on RCA Spain in the 90s.

Worth also noting that there are more Williams involvements here too, as he played piano on STACCATO, PETER GUNN and MR. LUCKY.

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Yup, they've obviously not heard of the FSM release when they did that blurb.

This does seem to be the first reissue of M SQUAD, however, since it was first released on CD on RCA Spain in the 90s.

Worth also noting that there are more Williams involvements here too, as he played piano on STACCATO, PETER GUNN and MR. LUCKY.

I was about to ask about that. He also did the soundtrack albums not just the actual recording sessions?

And as I had a chance to listen to the Crime Jazz compilation version of Checkmate I can tell you it is the exactly same LP programme (same players) as the FSM release. The sound quality is not as good as on the FSM version though, more archival.

The CD contents:

CD 1:

77 Sunset Strip (Warren Barker)

Hawaiian Eye (Warren Barker)

CD 02:

M-Squad (Stanley Wilson & His Orchestra)

Staccato (Elmer Bernstein)

CD 03:

Mikey Spillane's Mike Hammer (Stan Purdy & His Orchestra)

Music from Mike Hammer (composed by Dave Kane, Melvyn Lenard, arranged and performed by Skip Martin & His Orchestra)

CD 04:

Checkmate (John Williams)

Shotgun Slade (Stanley Wilson & His Orchestra)

CD 05:

Peter Gunn (Henry Mancini)

More Music from Peter Gunn

CD 06:

Mr. Lucky (Henry Mancini)

Mr. Lucky Goes Latin (Henry Mancini)

CD 07:

The Naked City (George Dunning)

The Untouchables (Nelson Riddle)

CD 08:

Bourbon Street (Don Ralke)

Richard Diamond (Pete Rugolo)

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I was about to ask about that. He also did the soundtrack albums not just the actual recording sessions?

In the case of PETER GUNN, yes. I keep forgetting if it's the case for the other two. Miguel knows.

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Yup, they've obviously not heard of the FSM release when they did that blurb.

This does seem to be the first reissue of M SQUAD, however, since it was first released on CD on RCA Spain in the 90s.

Worth also noting that there are more Williams involvements here too, as he played piano on STACCATO, PETER GUNN and MR. LUCKY.

No, there's for instance a remastered version of M Squad released in 2007.

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Yup, they've obviously not heard of the FSM release when they did that blurb.

This does seem to be the first reissue of M SQUAD, however, since it was first released on CD on RCA Spain in the 90s.

Worth also noting that there are more Williams involvements here too, as he played piano on STACCATO, PETER GUNN and MR. LUCKY.

No, there's for instance a remastered version of M Squad released in 2007.

I wasn't aware of that. Thanks for the heads-up. Maybe that's the one filmmusic linked to above.

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Yup, they've obviously not heard of the FSM release when they did that blurb.

This does seem to be the first reissue of M SQUAD, however, since it was first released on CD on RCA Spain in the 90s.

Worth also noting that there are more Williams involvements here too, as he played piano on STACCATO, PETER GUNN and MR. LUCKY.

No, there's for instance a remastered version of M Squad released in 2007.

I wasn't aware of that. Thanks for the heads-up. Maybe that's the one filmmusic linked to above.

Judging by the labels' names (Collectables and Jazz in the movies), I'd say those are bootlegs .

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Well I have been taking a listen of the various albums in this boxed set and I have to say it is a fine collection of the genre classics with a few more exotic and less known entries included. Staccato in particular was an interesting new acquaintance and happy surprise as Bernstein's writing is really top notch. Peter Gunn is of course perhaps the most famous and copied of the bunch and many of the other scores here take their lead from Mancini's classic but it is undeniably packed with such attitude, pulse, good humour and swagger that it is not hard to see why its formula was so eagerly imitated. I look forward to delving deeper into this set. :)

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Again I am not 100 % certain but the Checkmate album seems to be exactly the same as the old soundtrack LP programme. Orchestra and all. But I could be wrong. Considering they are actually advertising this as a world premiere (this of course could be erroneous info).

I don't understand.

The FSM release isn't exactly like the LP album?

I see they have the same tracks.

http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/title/18482/Checkmate

Are they alternate recordings?

By the way, i see there is another LP and CD from Contemporary with different durations of the tracks (much longer).

I don't know what is this..

The Contemporary Records album is a wonderful take on some of the tunes by the legendary drummer Shelly Manne -- who played for Williams on his orchestra. Manne had a jazz band and recorded numerous albums on Contemporary, though most Williams fans will also recall his two records on Capitol arranged and directed by Williams: My Fair Lady and Manne-That's Gershwin.

Yup, they've obviously not heard of the FSM release when they did that blurb.

This does seem to be the first reissue of M SQUAD, however, since it was first released on CD on RCA Spain in the 90s.

Worth also noting that there are more Williams involvements here too, as he played piano on STACCATO, PETER GUNN and MR. LUCKY.

I was about to ask about that. He also did the soundtrack albums not just the actual recording sessions?

Williams is credited on the albums of those three.

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Again I am not 100 % certain but the Checkmate album seems to be exactly the same as the old soundtrack LP programme. Orchestra and all. But I could be wrong. Considering they are actually advertising this as a world premiere (this of course could be erroneous info).

I don't understand.

The FSM release isn't exactly like the LP album?

I see they have the same tracks.

http://www.soundtrackcollector.com/title/18482/Checkmate

Are they alternate recordings?

By the way, i see there is another LP and CD from Contemporary with different durations of the tracks (much longer).

I don't know what is this..

The Contemporary Records album is a wonderful take on some of the tunes by the legendary drummer Shelly Manne -- who played for Williams on his orchestra. Manne had a jazz band and recorded numerous albums on Contemporary, though most Williams fans will also recall his two records on Capitol arranged and directed by Williams: My Fair Lady and Manne-That's Gershwin.

I'll definitely have to check out the Manne album of the Checkmate.

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Does the audio quality of Checkmate matches the FSM release?

And as I had a chance to listen to the Crime Jazz compilation version of Checkmate I can tell you it is the exactly same LP programme (same players) as the FSM release. The sound quality is not as good as on the FSM version though, more archival.
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After listening to each disc it has to be said most of them feature "archival" sound quality which means there has been only little tampering with their original sound which can be a bit off putting to audiophiles.

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  • 1 year later...

There's a pianist named Johnny Williams credited on Shotgun Slade (1960).

 

http://www.freshsoundrecords.com/gerald-fried-herschel-burke-gilbert-albums/6459-shotgun-slade-burke-s-law-2-lp-on-1-cd.html

 

Is it our John Williams or not?

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Well the link from that name leads to Rhythm and Motion album on that same site, which is a Williams album so it probably is him.

 

And the liner notes of the Crime Jazz set credit John Williams as the arranger and pianist for the Shotgun Slade album as well.

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