This late-'60s soundtrack was composed for a thriller about a group of gangsters (including future international star Klaus Kinski) who commit a robbery only to have it go horribly wrong. The score was penned by Italian composer Piero Umiliani, who mixes conventional orchestral touches with swinging crime jazz to create a score that is elegant and punchy all at once. The standout orchestral-style moment is "Crepusculo Sul Mare," a dramatic instrumental that wraps a lush string arrangement around a circular, hypnotic acoustic guitar riff. The highlight in the jazz arena is the title track, a seven-minute epic that travels through a variety of tempos and textures as it provides a showcase for some amazing horn arrangements. The score also includes "Lui E Lei," a percolating instrumental built on a clever male and female scat duet that has made it a favorite of lounge fans. Fans of Piero Umiliani will be pleased to see that Easy Tempo's reissue of this once-rare soundtrack album doubles its length by restoring some previously edited cues (including "La Legge Dei Gangsters") to their full length and also providing an array of bonus jazz cues that didn't make it to the original album. The best of the unreleased cuts is "Gangster's Song," a swinging, brass-heavy vocal number whose string-sweetened melody is reminiscent of Henry Mancini's jazzier moments. All in all, La Legge Dei Gangsters is a stylish and swinging treat for Piero Umiliani fans and anyone who enjoys soundtracks at their most jazzy. ~ Donald A. Guarisco
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