Four workouts accomplished today. Who’s the man? I’m the man! And how does “the man” like to relax at the end of it all? Why, with a bowl of mommies Chicken Alfredo and a little light Jazz Boner, specifically the ‘Anatomy of a Murder‘ soundtrack featuring a score by Duke Ellington.
‘Anatomy of a Murder’ was a 1959 courtroom crime drama film directed by Otto Preminger and adapted by Wendell Mayes from the best-selling novel of the same name written by Michigan Supreme Court Justice John D. Voelker under the pen name Robert Traver. Voelker based the novel on a 1952 murder case in which he was the defense attorney and the film starred James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara, Eve Arden, and George C. Scott.
I, however, have never seen it.
However, as I’ve been listening to a lot of Duke Ellington lately, this was the record I most excited to find at this past weekend’s Record Fair in Hamilton, Ontario.
This was Ellington’s first film score, undertaken at the urging of director Preminger and was listed one some jazz website I was trolling as one of the best, most underrated albums by Ellington.
And, as it turns out, it’s true!
The full range of the composer’s previous work was brought to bear on this 1959 work. Ellington was a natural choice to convey the rich and varied emotional moods of this drama. Tension and release, danger and safety, movement and stillness, darkness and light; the textural palette that was Ellington’s signature was always compellingly cinematic.
In these orchestral settings, Duke’s soloists (Cat Anderson, Clark Terry, Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, and others) shine, as their playing reflects true variations on a theme in a classical sense. That’s not to say that this set doesn’t swing, too – ‘Happy Anatomy‘ is a short but fully cranked gallop. My favorite however is the ‘Main Title and Anatomy Of a Murder‘ theme. Brilliant stuff!
This is an album of rich variety and evocative writing and definitely did not disappoint. I’m not sure HRH (who took one look f the black and white photo on the cover, before wrinkling up her nose in disgust and mentioned “That looks old”) or Kelly really cared for it but, meh, it’s also something that I kind of like to have all to myself for the time being anyway.
You’re loss, ladies.