Thursday, October 21, 2010
Video All-Stars: Richard Diamond Theme
When I joined WFMU, the Video All-Stars LP was one of the core albums in my small but choice collection of what's now called "crime jazz" . "Crime Jazz" is a broad term for TV & movie soundtrack jazz & the many imitations. It basically fell into two styles: big band "action" jazz used to underscore chases, gun battles, & sinister situations; & a cooler "west coast" music for romance & nightclub scenes. There were also TV theme songs, some of them jazzy pop-novelty songs (77 Sunset Strip), & speciaty numbers like mambos, but also classics like "Peter Gunn" that could be appropriated as rock & roll instrumentals. Crime Jazz of the Fifties easily evolved into the Spy Jazz of the Sixties, James Bond, etc.
Recorded for a bargain label (you were more likely to find it in Woolworth's with the faux Hawaiian records than a record store), it has a side of Peter Gunn numbers plus a side with three TV themes. The leader, Skip Martin, used the same first call studio musicians favored by Mancini & other soundtrack composers, & the arrangements were similar to the originals. He just gave the musicians longer leashes; they played louder & had more solo space.