Back to back jazz soundtracks – the cream of the crop of the early 60s! First
up is The Hustler – a killer jazz score from Kenyon Hopkins – a composer we can almost always trust to turn around a killer jass score! The work is mostly in a jazz ensemble mode – and moves between swinging segments, and sadder ones – those beautifully blue passages that Hopkins did so well in the early 60s – full of emotion, but in a really subtle, mature sort of way that also marked a shift in American
cinema too – quite a change from the overblown emotion of a decade before, both in the music and on screen. Players include Phil Woods, Jerome Richardson, and Phil Bodner on reeds; Joe Wilder on trumpet, Jimmy Cleveland on trombone, Hank Jones on piano, and Barry Galbraith on guitar – and titles include "Derby Time", "Dining Out", "Fast Buck", "Small Time Charlie", "The Loser", and "Minnesota Fats". Paris Blues is a moody introspective score, written for a 1961 film that starred Paul Newman as a frustrated jazz musician living in Paris. The "Paris Blues" theme is a dark, somber composition that is supposedly Newman's masterpiece as a jazz writer – and it works beautifully with the film's themes of frustration and unfulfilled desire. Ellington's at his best here, and apart from the main theme, the score also has great versions of classics like "Mood Indigo" and "Take The A Train", plus originals like "Nite", "Wild Man Moore", "Guitar Amour", and "Paris Stairs". Also features Louis Armstrong on one track! CD also features 7 more tracks from The Long Hot Summer – a more traditional score penned by Alex North, and featuring a title song by Jimmie Rodgers.