Crime & Suspense



From gum shoes to fedoras, the crime dramas of film noir and television are riddled with clichés (like that one). In the obligatory nightclub scene, Johnny Stacatto sits in with the band in which Jack Costanzo is already bongo-ing up a frenzy; a "lovely tomato" breathes wisps of torch smoke into the microphone; sweat rises on brows, and the din rises just enough to muffle the single shot hitting its target in a back room. The brassy themes, calculated to excite, become numbing through repetition. But weary as the generic, down-on-his-luck dick may be, at least he is not as tired as James Bond.

"Crime jazz" sometimes means Hollywood jazz but more often arranged pop, even if scored and played to emulate jazz. Key elements are tension-building suspense (percussion and horn bursts) and the downtempo, wistful romance of the lonely private eye of fiction (horn solos). "Richard Diamond" and "Harlem Nocturne" are respective examples. Some themes, such as "The Pink Panther," convey the stealth of a private eye or cat burglar. The "suspense" extension of the idiom includes psychological thrillers, lurid urban/domestic yarns, and would-be crime tales. Alfred Hitchcock and Kenyon Hopkins are examples. Batman and the Green Hornet occupy a special place in the general instrumental guitar-rock melange of surf, hot rod, etc.

Movies scored by Henry Mancini, such as "Touch of Evil," are obvious sources of crime themes. But the suspense impulse runs from mod 1960s brass, such as Al Caiola and the Power of Brass' cover of "The Odd Couple" theme, to the "exotica noir" of Les Baxter's Jungle Jazz. The greatest yet least likely suspense tune may be "Waikiki at Midnight," a heavy, hippie, hilarious narrative from Jack de Mello's very strange, boxed-set tribute to Kui Lee. Crime is where you find it, and suspense is in the hunt.

Buying: The classics have been covered so often, it is easy to find favorite versions, both pop and jazz, even on budget labels. Avoid either of Mundell Lowe's gratuitous TV Action Jazz LPs. Covet the Det Moor LP.



Crime-in-Comix LPs

Rating
6The Bat Boys: Batman; Design SDLP-249
6The Sensational Guitars of Dan & Dale (really Sun Ra): Batman & Robin; Tifton 78002; 1966 (1st press deep groove in a purple, not blue, jacket)
7The Dynamic Batmen: Batman & Robin; Panda PAN-3035
7Neal Hefti: "Batman Theme" & 11 Other Bat Songs; RCA Victor LSP-3573; 1966
7The Marketts: The Batman Theme Played by the Marketts; Warner Bros. WS-1642
7Ray Martin: Comic Strip Favorites; RCA Camden CAS-2102; 1966 (mod/Batman/crime/exotic rock; w/Dick Hyman)
8The Revengers: Batman & Other Super Men; MGM/Metro MS-565 (Batman/crime/spy)
7Nelson Riddle/Various: Batman--Exclusive Original Television Soundtrack Album; 20th Century-Fox TFS-4180; 1966
8The Villains: Batman; Alshire/Somerset 25000
8The Ventures [Batman Theme]; Liberty/Dolton BST-8042
7Uncredited: The Green Hornet; Coronet CX2-282 (mono version actually stereo too)


Crime & Suspense LPs

Rating
6Peter Appleyard: Percussive Jazz; Audio Fidelity DFM-3002; 1960 ("Doctored for Super-Sound" series; w/Johnny Rae, Sam Most..)
6Luis E. Bacalov/Bruno Nicolai: We Still Kill the Old Way; United Artists UAS-5183; 1968
6Warren Barker: 77 Sunset Strip; Warner Bros. WS-1289; 1959
5Aaron Bell Orchestra: Music from Peter Gunn; Lion L-70112
5Aaron Bell Orchestra: Music from 77 Sunset Strip; Lion L-70116
3Elmer Bernstein: The Man with the Golden Arm; Decca DL-8257
8Elmer Bernstein: Staccato; Capitol ST-1287; 1959
8Buddy Bregman & his Orchestra: Swinging Kicks; Verve MGV-2042 (based on "The Wild Party")
8Tony Crombie: Man from Interpol--Soundtrak from the NBC-TV Series; Top Rank RM-327 (crime, Latin jazz, bongo bop, exotica, Hawaiian)
8Syd Dale: The Sounds of Syd Dale; KPM 1002; 1966 (production; crime/bongo bop/mod/biker)
6Duke Ellington: Anatomy of a Murder ST; Columbia CS-8166
7Dean Elliott: College Confidential ST; Chancellor CHLS-5016
7The Bob Friedman Orchestra: Anatomy of a Murder; Premier/Coronet CXS-99 (music from the Duke Ellington Score)
7[John Gregory as] Chaquito: TV Thrillers; Philips 6308-087; 1972
[John Gregory as] Chaquito Big Band: Spies & Dolls; Philips 6308-111
8John Gregory & his Orchestra: TV Thriller Themes; Philips PHS-600-027/PHM-200-027; 1961 (plus "Maigret" as Channel Thrill!--The TV Thriller Themes; Philips/Fontana STFL-585/TFL-5170)
8John Gregory Orchestra: TV's Greatest Detective Hits; Philips/Mercury SRM-1-1089; 1976
6John Gregory Orchestra: John Gregory Conducts; Philips 6499-308 (compilation of Gregory/Chaquito)
7The Chico Hamilton Quintet [Plays Jazz Themes for the Sound Track of...] Sweet Smell of Success; Decca DL-8614; 1957
7Joe Harnell & his Orchestra: The Sound of the Asphalt Jungle; Kapp Medallion MS-7518; 1961
6Neal Hefti, his Orchestra & Chorus: Hefti in Gotham City; RCA Victor LSP-3621; 1966
6Alfred Hitchcock Presents Music to Be Murdered By; Imperial 9052 (partly spoken; music arr. & cond. Jeff Alexander; in UK as DRG SL-5183; 1980)
6Kenyon Hopkins: The Fugitive Kind ST; United Artists UAS-5065/UAL-4065; 1960 (suspense/twist)
6Kenyon Hopkins: The Hustler ST; Kapp KS-3264 (crime/suspense/bongo bop)
7Kenyon Hopkins: Nightmare!!; MGM SE-4104 (crime/suspense/horror/effects/Mid-East/whistling; partly on Metro 520)
5Laurie Johnson Orchestra: The Avengers; Hanna-Barbera HST-9506; 1966 (crime or spy)
6Quincy Jones: In Cold Blood ST; Colgems COS-107; 1968 (spooky suspense, tabla; film cast includes Sheldon Allman)
8Irving Joseph: Murder, Inc.; Time S-2002; 1960
7Enoch Light & his Orchestra: The Private Life of a Private Eye; Command RS-805-SD; 1959 (Paperback Ballet; Command RS-33-805; 1963, 1972)
8Ralph Marterie & his Marlboro Men: Music for a Private Eye; Mercury SR-60109 (Pete Rugolo & Skip Martin arranged)
8Henry Mancini: Touch of Evil ST; Varese Sarabande/Citadel CT-7016; 1980/1958 (definitive/complete 18-cut version, replacing: (1) Touch of Evil/The Night Visitor; Citadel CT-6015, 1977; (2) The Wild Side of Henry Mancini; Challenge CHL-615, 1960; & (3) the 13-cut Touch of Evil ST; Challenge CHL-602; 1959)
7Henry Mancini: The Music from Peter Gunn; RCA Victor LSP-1956; 1958
7Henry Mancini: More Music from Peter Gunn; RCA Victor LSP-2040; 1959
5Henry Mancini: Gunn ST; RCA Victor LSP-3840; 1967
6Henry Mancini: The Mancini Generation; RCA Victor LSP-4689; 1972 (Arp soul jazz/mod/crime--"Charade"; from TV series "The Mancini Generation")
7Henry Mancini: The Cop Show Themes; RCA Victor APL1-1896; 1976
5Henry Mancini: Collection; RCA Special Products/Pair PDL2-1092; 1984 (2-LP, "Touch of Evil" stereo remake)
7Johnny Mandel: Harper ST; Mainstream S-6078 (crime/mod soul)
5Skip Martin: The Music from Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer; RCA Victor LSP-2140; 1959
7Billy May w/Sammy Davis Jr.: Johnny Cool ST; United Artists UAS-4111; 1963
8Det Moor (comp./arr. Bob Mersey): Great Jazz from Great TV; Gallant GT-4001
7Phil Moore: New York Sweet; Philips P-48-110-L; 1964 (spoken w/music; bongos; Germany)
7Tony Mottola w/Ray Charles Singers: Original Music from "Danger" 10"; MGM E-111
6The Frankie Ortega Trio: 77 Sunset Strip; Jubilee 1106
6Norrie Paramor: Law Beat; Contour 2870-369; 1974 (UK)
6Paul Phillips & his Band/Joe Harnell: The Sound of Midnight--Naked City; Kapp Medallion MS-7517
7Piero Piccioni: The Tenth Victim ST; Mainstream S-6072; 1965/1964 (crime/sci-fi suspense/wordless chorus/mod jazz/organ)
6Stan Purdy: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer Story; V (Fifth Corp.); (c)1954 (EP sets V-2501 & -2)
8Sid Ramin: Stiletto ST; Columbia OS-3360; 1968
6Nelson Riddle: The Untouchables (Original Music from the TV Show); Capitol ST-1430
6George Romanis/Al Caiola: 8 on the Lam ST; MCA 25096; 1967
3Pete Rugolo & Jimmy McHugh: Jack the Ripper ST; RCA Victor LSP-2199; 1960
5Pete Rugolo & his Orchestra: The Original Music of Thriller; Time 52034
7Pete Rugolo & his Orchestra: The Music from Richard Diamond; Mercury SR-80045
7William Sanford: Pretty Boy Floyd; Audio Fidelity AFLP-1936; 1960
6Leith Stevens: Jazz Themes for Cops & Robbers; Coral CRL-757283 (all stars Herb Geller, Shorty Rogers, Pete Candoli, Shelley Manne..; effectively the "Private Hell 66" ST plus 4 main themes)
8Morton Stevens: Hawaii Five-O--Original CBS Television Sound Track; Capitol ST-410 (reissue SM-410 also stereo)
6Morris Stoloff/George Duning/Ned Washington: The Naked City; Columbia Colpix CP-505
8The Creed Taylor Orchestra/Kenyon Hopkins: Lonelyville "The Nervous Beat"; ABC-Paramount ABCS-308
7Armando Trovajoli: Seven Golden Men ST; United Artists UAL-?/UAS-5193 (mono-only recording; crime/spy/wordless chorus/mod/whistling/drums)
5The Video All-Stars/Skip Martin: TV Jazz Themes; Somerset SF-8800; 1960
7The Wedges: "Hang Ten"--for Surfers Only; Time 52090 (jacket: "Hang Ten"--Surfin' with the Wedges"; original crime music misleadingly packaged as surf)
7Stanley Wilson: The Music from M Squad; RCA Victor LSP-2062; 1959
6Si Zentner & his Orchestra: The Swingin' Eye; Liberty LST-7166
7Si Zentner & his Orchestra: Warning Shot [ST & other themes by Jerry Goldsmith]; Liberty LST-7498; 1966


Partly Crime & Suspense LPs

Rating
The Agents: Themes for Secret Agents; Liberty/Sunset SUS-5184
7Paulo Alencar: The Great Hits of Brazil; Kapp KS-3280; 1962 ("Ninguem e de Ninguem/No One")
7Ray Anthony: Like Wild!; Capitol ST-1304
7Warren Barker & Frank Comstock: TV Guide Top Television Themes; Warner Bros. WS-1290
7Warren Barker/Poncie Ponce/Connie Stevens/Robert Conrad: Hawaiian Eye ST; Warner Bros. WS-1355; 1960
7The John Barry Seven & Orchestra: Best of; EMI; 1979 (Hit & Miss; Charly CM-110; 1982)
7Vincent Bell: The Best of; Musicor MS-3192 ("Baker St. Mystery")
5Willie Bobo: Bobo's Beat; Roulette Birdland SR-52097 ("Naked City")
7Billy Brooks: Windows of the Mind; BBW-903 (mod funk; "The Speech Maker")
6Sam Butera & the Witnesses Play Music from The Rat Race; Dot DLP-25306 (title theme)
6John Cacavas & his Orchestra: Music for Drama (Orchestral); Chappell International CAL-4014; 1974 (spy/crime/suspense)
6Al Caiola: The Best of; United Artists UAS-6310; 1963 ("Experiment in Terror")
8Al Caiola: Sounds for Spies & Private Eyes; United Artists UAS-6435
7Al Caiola: Blockbuster Movie/TV Themes; United Artists/Two Worlds TW-9102 (Theme from the "Magnificent 7 Ride" '73; United Artists/Avalanche AV-LA058-F; 1973)
4Dick Cathcart: Pete Kelly's Blues; Warner Bros. WS-1303
5Cy Coleman/China Lee/Dick Hazard/Elmer Bernstein: The Troublemaker ST; Ava AS-49-ST; 1964
5Jack Costanzo: Mr. Bongo Has Brass; Zephyr ZP-12003G ("Man with the Golden Arm"; also a compact 33 promo)
6Jack Costanzo: Naked City & Other Themes; Liberty LST-7195
7Syd Dale/Andrew Arvin: Modern Beat Music/Period Music with a Beat; Sam Fox SF-1015 (production; mod soul/crime/bongo/mid-east)
7Troy Donahue/Connie Stevens/Ty Hardin/Stefanie Powers/Robert Conrad: Palm Springs Weekend ST; Warner Bros. WS-1519 (twist/crime/mod/golden throat/bossa/folk)
3Lew Douglas: Themes from...; Carlton 126 ("The Untouchables")
7The Bernard Ebbinghouse Orchestra: The Big Band Sound/Orchestral Sounds/Rhythmic Moods/In a Quiet Mood; Bosworth Backgrounds BLP-147; 1976 ("A Night in Harlem"; production/mod)
7Esquivel: More of Other Sounds Other Worlds ("Street Scene"); Reprise R9-6046; 1961
7Wilton Felder: Bullitt; Liberty/World Pacific ST-20152 ("Bullitt"; soul-jazz horns)
6The Richard Gleason Orchestra: TV Themes; Tops L-1661
9Johnny Gunn w/Don Ralke: Introspection IV; Warner Bros. WS-1372; 1960 (spoken w/music; WILD poetic narrations "flip-end vignettes")
4Earle Hagen: The New Interns ST; Colpix SCP-473; 1964
4Jimmie Haskell: "From Russia With Love" Theme; Capitol ST-2075
7Nurit Hirsh: The Cop ST; Phonodor 13006 (Israel)
7Ole Jensen & his Music; Chappell LPC-1034; 1970 ("Chorale in Rhythm"; production/space-electronic)
7Spike Jones & the Band that Plays for Fun: Omnibust; Liberty LST-7140 ("Ah-1, Ah-2, Ah-Sunset Strip")
6Mickey Katz: Katz Pajamas; Capitol W-1257 ("Little Red Rosenberg")
6Roland Kirk: Now Please Don't You Cry, Beautiful Edith; Verve V6-8709 ("Fallout")
5Living Brass (Ray Martin) Play Moods of Mancini; RCA Camden CAS-2162; 1967
6The Malcolm Lockyer Orchestra: Top TV Themes; Contour 2870-439; 1975 (UK)
6Bill Loose: Cherry, Harry, & Raquel ST; Beverly Hills BHS-23 ("Franklin's Theme")
6Manny Lopez: Just for You; Indigo IND-LP-502 ("Hawaiian Eye")
7Henry Mancini: Combo!; RCA Victor LSP-2258; 1961
7Henry Mancini: Breakfast at Tiffany's ST; RCA Victor LSP-2362; 1961 ("The Big Heist")
7Henry Mancini: Experiment in Terror ST; RCA Victor LSP-2442; 1962
6Henry Mancini: Charade ST; RCA Victor LSP-2755; 1963
7Henry Mancini: The Pink Panther ST; RCA Victor LSP-2795; 1963
8Jack Marshall: Tuff Jack; Capitol ST-1727 ("Peter Gunn")
5Ralph Marterie & his Marlboro Men: Dance Party; Mercury MG-20395 ("Compulsion"; Wing SRW-16259)
3Ray Martin: The Sound of Sight; London Phase 4 SP-44040
9Jack de Mello, his Orchestra & Singers: The World of Kui Lee; Music of Polynesia MOP-12000 ("Waikiki at Midnight")
8Robert Mersey: Synchro Fox Golden Group; Sam Fox SF-2002 (crime/beatnik/rock; compilation)
5Buddy Morrow: Night Train Goes to Hollywood; Mercury SR-60702
6Buddy Morrow: Impact; RCA Victor LSP-2042; 1959
6Buddy Morrow: Double Impact; RCA Victor LSP-2180; 1960
7Buddy Morrow & his Orchestra: Poe for Moderns; RCA Victor LSP-2208; 1960
6Roger King Mozian: Spectacular Percussion; MGM SE-3845 ("Repercussion")
5Jerry Murad's Harmonicats: Great Themes from TV & Motion Pictures; Columbia/Harmony HS-11223
8The Musical Theatre: A Revolutionary Revelation; Metromedia MD-1015 (Christian rock/funky rock/Moog/crime; "Reflections in the Life of an Assassin")
3The NORAD Band Presents Mountain of Music; NCM-68-6 ("The Beatnik")
5Fausto Papetti: I Remember...; Audio Fidelity AFSD-6189; 1968 ("Saturday Night Philosopher")
7Pat Patrick: ABC's in Bubbaville; Kimbo Upbeat Basics KUB-0002; 1986/1981 (kid funk/beatnik/disco/truck/crime/exotica/DJ; 28 career choices)
7Malcolm Peters/Ron Goodwin: Imagination; Time 70007
7The Pop Singers & Orchestra: Themes from Hit TV Shows; Peter Pan 8185 (kid funk/crime/disco; Kotter, SWAT, Rockford Files, Baretta, MASH, Chico & the Man, Kojak, Good Times..)
7The Pop Singers & Orchestra: Themes from Hit TV Shows Vol. 2; Peter Pan 8197; 1977 (kid funk/crime/disco; 6 Million Dollar Man, Bionic Woman, Sanford & Son, Hawaii 5-0, Charlie's Angels, Police Woman..)
8Don Ralke: The Savage & Sensuous: Bongos; Warner Bros. WS-1398; 1960 ("The Mystery of Yambuya")
6Nelson Riddle: Route 66 Theme; Capitol ST-1771 (and other TV themes)
5Nelson Riddle: More Hit TV Themes; Capitol ST-1869
8Roger Roger/Nino Nardini: Jazz Dramatic/Jazz; Southern MQ/LP-32 (production; crime, flute, exotica--"Mango Girl")
6Pete Rugolo: TV's Top Themes; Mercury SR-60706
8Lalo Schifrin: Once a Thief & Other Themes; Verve V6-8624; 1965
8Lalo Schifrin: Bullitt; Warner Bros. 1777; 1968
8Lalo Schifrin: Mannix; Paramount PAS-5004
6Lalo Schifrin/Jerry Fielding: Sudden Impact & the Best of Dirty Harry; Viva 1-23990; 1983/1971-83
3Dick Schory: The Happy Hits; RCA Victor LSP-2926; 1964 ("The Pink Panther Theme")
5The Secret Agents: Mission Impossible & Other Action Themes; Pickwick/Design DLP-287 (spy/crime/organ)
7Leith Stevens & Stu Phillips: The Interns ST; Colpix SCP-427; 1962 ("Toss Me a Scalpel")
5Billy Strange/Neil Norman: Secret Agent File; GNP Crescendo GNPS-2166; 1984 (compilation; "The Rockford Files")
7Peter Thomas/E.A. Quelle/R. Wilhelm: Crime Backgrounds; CBS Records EZ Cue EZQ-165 (production; crime/bongo)
8Al Tijuana & his Jewish Brass; Capitol ST-2596; 1966 ("Peter Gunn")
7Reg Tilsley/Tilsley Orchestral No. 8: Theme and Variation; De Wolfe DWLP-3174; 1970 (production/crime/spy; short cues)
7Jack Trombey & the International Studio Group: Living Power 10"; De Wolfe DWLP-2970; 1966 (spy/crime)
Jack Trombey & John Reids: Eye for an Eye 10"; De Wolfe DWLP-2969; 1966 (presumably spy/crime)
5Kai Winding: Suspense Themes in Jazz; Verve V6-8493; 1963
6Si Zentner: Warning Shot [ST & other themes]; Liberty LST-7498
5Si Zentner: "From Russia with Love" Theme; Liberty LST-7353
9Uncredited: [Background Music] 10"; Audio BMP-134; 1968 (production)
6Uncredited/Various: City Background; CBS Records EZ Cue "Golden Minutes" CSM-928 (production; crime/Mexicali)
8Uncredited; Robert Hall RH-104/105 (production; mod jazz/crime jazz)
7Various: The Cool Scene--Twelve New Ways to Fly; Warner Bros. WS-1328; 1959 (compilation/showcase; Don Ralke, Warren Barker, Frank Comstock ("The D.A.'s Man"), Smart Set, Chico Hamilton, Signatures, Trombones Inc., Marty Wilson, Guitars Inc., Robert Prince)
7Various: Modern Rhythm 10"; Bosworth BLP-109; 1969 (production)
4Various: The Detectives and Agents & Great Suspense Motion Picture Themes; Mainstream S-6079
6Various: Palm Springs Weekend ST; Warner Bros. WS-1519 ("Palm Springs Scramble")
4Various: Swing for a Crime; Jazzbo CR-SFC
4Various: Television's Greatest Hits; TeeVee Toons TVT-1100; 1985
4Various/Uncredited: T.V. '67--Dragnet--I Spy--T.H.E. Cat; Cameo/Wyncote SW-9184 ("Dragnet Theme")
9Trunk Presents the Super Sounds of Bosworth; Trunk Barked 1; 1996 (production; reissue-compilation)
8Various: Trunk Presents the Super Sounds of Bosworth Vol. 2; Trunk Barked 2; 1996 (production; reissue-compilation)


[Partly] Crime & Suspense 45s

Rating
6Sam Butera & the Witnesses: Theme from The Rat Race Parts 1 & 2; Dot 16080
7The Embers: Peter Gunn Cha Cha/Chiny-Chin Chin Cha Cha (sic); Wynne 101 (crime/Latin rock; w/Candido!)
8Stan Freberg: St. George & the Dragonet/Little Blue Riding Hood; Capitol F-2596 (spoken w/theme intro; crime spoof)
8Stan Freberg w/Daws Butler: Christmas Dragnet Parts 1 & 2; Capitol F-2671 (spoken w/theme intro; Christmas crime spoof)
7Jet Harris: Main Title Theme (from The Man with the Golden Arm)/Some People; Decca 11488 (ex-Shadows; guitar)
7Laurie Johnson: The Professionals/The New Avengers; Unicorn-Kanchana CI5; 1980 (3-cut EP w/picture sleeve; crime or spy)
8The Steve Karman Big Band [featuring Jimmy Radcliffe]: Breakaway! Parts 1 & 2; United Artists UA-50451 (crime/funky sitar)
7Malcolm Lockyer: The Drummond Theme/Gambit (theme); Decca (mod/crime; rec. UK; A-side from "Deadlier than the Male"; B-side from "Gambit")
7Billy May: The Man with the Golden Gun (main title)/Our Melody (the Phonograph Song); Capitol F-3372


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