Most of the soundtrack to this comedy-caper flick is pretty standard '60s soundtrack material. This track, however, is moody, top-notch crime jazz... The arrangement is chaotic but stirring with some really heavy bass-piano, wailing brass, and organ (used more as an atmospheric sound effect than to deliver any melody). Special thanks to Darrell Brogdon for playing this on his Retro Cocktail Hour.
from Treasure Of San Gennaro (Buddah BDS-5011) available on CD - Jazz In The Movies, Cinecitta (CAM (Italy))
In my experience John Gregory is one of the most consistently superb British arrangers of the 60s and 70s. I've never really heard anything I didn't like by him, although I understand that he was very prolific and that I've barely scratched the surface so far.
His arrangements have simultaneously a bite and a beauty that few others were able to match. Although not much of his work is available on CD, there's one excellent disc, 'Mission Impossible and other themes', that compiles most of his 'big band crime jazz' work, dating from the early 1960s to the mid 1970s. The disc isn't very excitingly packaged and can be had very cheaply, but it's full of outstanding tracks.
'Fire and Rain' is from a 70s album (I have it on a Philips sampler from the early 70s), and is a sumptuously arranged instrumental in the vein of some of the work of other British arrangers of the era, such as Johnny Harris and John Schroeder.
Of course, the song was written and originally recorded by James Taylor. His track is quite nice, but maybe it helped that I came to this version 'fresh', without having heard the original. This happens to me a lot, and Gregory's full arrangement and jazzy touches definitely elevate the track for me.
The melody is carried by a beautifully played trumpet, and later by the strings. There's a strong beat throughout, and a particularly groovy break towards the end with some great brass.
Here's another early Burt Bacharach composition, this one from (or just a promotional piece for?) the William Wyler film "The Desperate Hours." I haven't seen the movie, but this song makes me want to. This song is steeped in a heavy film noir atmosphere -- with vibes and wailing sax -- that I love. Needless to say, this has a very different sound from the stuff Bacharach would become famous for a few years down the road.
A colorful "crime jazz" soundtrack piece that is considerably different from the "Schoolgirl Report" scores for which Wilden is better known. Wilden makes great use of the Harpsichord here pitting against electric guitar.
available on CD - Deutsche Filmkomponisten, Folge 2 (Bear Family)