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Elmer Bernstein (Composer/Conductor): Walk on the Wild Side [Music from the Motion Picture]

Album Notes

Composed and conducted by Elmer Bernstein.

Walk Don't Run is one of Quincy Jones' earliest and most obscure soundtracks. The 1966 release came in between his popular soundtracks for The Pawnbroker and In The Heat Of The Night, but substitutes the more substantial jazz arrangements found on those albums for an easy-listening, Henry Mancini-inspired sound. The main theme, "Happy Feet," is a breezy number that is reconfigured throughout in vocal and instrumental versions; the theme turns surreal on "20th Century Drawers" and Rabelaisian Rutland," becoming a hyper-pastiche of oriental motifs, surf guitar, baroque music, and square dance music. Like both Mancini and Burt Bacharach, though, Jones' uses his stellar arranging skills to make cumbersome pieces like this sound logical and streamlined. The other prominent theme is the samba number "Stay With Me," which gets both instrumental and vocal treatments as well. Featured throughout the soundtrack are excellent solo contributions by harmonica player/whistler Toots Thielmans and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison. To fill out the short program, the producers add four contemporary movie themes, including Duke Ellingtons "Theme from 'Asphalt Jungle'"; west-coast jazz stars like Jack Sheldon, Red Callender, and Mel Lewis are featured. This is an enjoyable CD, but one that might be better suited for fans of Jones' other soundtracks instead of those strictly into his jazz releases. ~ Stephen Cook


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