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Johnny Mandel, 94, Writer of Memorable Movie Scores, Is Dead

After composing and arranging for big bands, he gave the world melodies like “The Shadow of Your Smile,” “Emily” and “Suicide Is Painless.”
Tags: Music, Movies, News, Jazz, Mandel, Johnny Mandel, Deaths (Obituaries, John A (1925-2020, The Shadow of Your Smile (Song, Suicide Is Painless (Song

Johnny Mandel Dead At 94

Johnny Mandel has died, as The New York Times reports. The composer and arranger was 94. Mandel was best known for his film scores and songs. He wrote "Suicide Is Painless," the theme for the 1970 film M*A*S*H and its subsequent long-running TV series. 1965's "The Shadow Of Your Smile," a song he … More »
Tags: Music, New York Times, Obit, Mandel, Johnny Mandel

Johnny Mandel, Oscar-winning composer behind M*A*S*H theme, dies aged 94

Musician, composer and arranger who also won five Grammys hailed by Michael Bublé as ‘a genius, a beast’Johnny Mandel, the Oscar and Grammy-winning composer behind the theme from M*A*S*H and more, has died aged 94.Details of his death have not been released. The news was announced by musician and friend Michael Feinstein, who said: “A dear friend and extraordinary composer arranger and all-around brilliant talent Johnny Mandel just passed away. The world will never be quite the same without his ...
Tags: Music, Film, World news, US news, Culture, Pop and rock, Jazz, Michael Buble, Michael Feinstein, Johnny Mandel, Johnny Mandel Oscar

Hoagy Sings Carmichael

Hoagy Sings Carmichael has been called many things. I used to refer to it as an album by a songwriter singing his own songs in the shower. Others have likened Carmichael's voice to something on a fence you throw shoes at to get it to stop. Or a saloon-song album sung by swinging doors that need oiling. All funny and unfair. Carmichael's voice may sound dated and off-kilter, but he's still the guy who wrote all the music and, in many cases, the words. Songs like Georgia on My Mind, Skylark and...
Tags: America, Georgia, Jazz, Carmichael, American Dream, Memphis, John Koenig, Hoagy Carmichael, Baltimore Oriole, Pacific Jazz Records, Marc Myers, Johnny Mandel, Hoagy, Jimmy Rowles, Art Pepper, Al Hendrickson

Jack Sheldon (1931-2019)

Jack Sheldon, a West Coast jazz trumpeter who, in the 1960s, as jazz recording opportunities dried up, began to diversify into film studio work, TV acting, a music directorship, comedy and singing on the children's animated series School of Rock, died on December 27. He was 88. Sheldon was most notable for his clean, round sound on the trumpet and his easy-going personality and good cheer. Sheldon spoke on camera in the Chet Baker documentary Let's Get Lost about how hard he worked practicing ...
Tags: Jazz, West Coast, Jack, Vermont, Ray Charles, Chet Baker, Sheldon, Marc Myers, Johnny Mandel, Jack Sheldon, Henry Mancini Johnny Mandel

Anthony Weller + Herb Pomeroy

Boston trumpeter and educator Herb Pomeroy (above) was known largely for his big band work as a leader and sideman. But in the early 2000s, Pomeroy led a gorgeous, romantic working trio consisting of Pomeroy on trumpet, Anthony Weller on guitar and David Landoni on bass. The group recorded three albums—two live and one in the studio. Live At Cafe Beaujolais in Gloucester, Mass., was their first in 1999, followed by Aluminum Baby recorded in Boston in 2003 and then Live at 75 Chestnut in Boston ...
Tags: Florida, Boston, Flower, Herb, David, Harvard, South Africa, Jazz, Gloucester, Wall Street Journal, Stella, Anthony, New England, Beaujolais, Thomas, Chet Baker

Johnny Mandel at the Movies

Another jazz artist who became a spectacular composer, arranger and conductor for the movies starting in the late 1950s is Johnny Mandel. His haunting love themes, sweeping strings and nocturnal horns were more brooding and jazz influenced than perhaps any other Hollywood arranger. Here are 10 of my favorite Johnny Mandel scores: Here's the main theme from I Want to Live (1957), with Gerry Mulligan on baritone saxophone... Here's Emily from The Americanization of Emily (1964)... Here's Th...
Tags: Hollywood, Jazz, Johnny, Emily, Glengarry Glen Ross, Wayne Shorter, Gerry Mulligan, Marc Myers, JazzWax, Johnny Mandel, Ruth Price, Jack Sheldon, Irene Kral, Sea Dawn

Gene Cipriano: First Time Out

Since 1947, reed player Gene "Cip" Cipriano has recorded on thousands of albums, singles, TV shows and movies. He's one of the most recorded session musicians in the business. Cip can be heard playing the flute solo on Henry Mancini's Baby Elephant Walk in Hatari! and soloing on tenor sax for Tony Curtis in Billy Wilder's film Some Like It Hot (1959). He's on albums with Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Rosemary Clooney and dozens of others. And that's just on the pop side. In the j...
Tags: Los Angeles, Jazz, Rosemary, Billy Wilder, Tony Curtis, Don, CIP, Buddy Collette, Henry Mancini, Artie Shaw, Jerry Williams, Ranier, Dennis McCarthy, Marc Myers, Johnny Mandel, Pete Christlieb

Meredith d'Ambrosio in 1981

One of my regrets about my college years in Boston during the 1970s is not going to see Meredith d'Ambrosio perform around town. Back then, I was either at the Harvard "Coop" buying jazz LPs, at Paul's Mall and the Jazz Workshop at night during the week and at discos on the weekends. Soon after I started JazzWax in 2007, I made up for lost time, and Meredith and I have been pals ever since. Yesterday, I spent much of the afternoon with Meredith's Another Time. Recorded in 1981 at the Beacon Hi...
Tags: Apple, Amazon, Boston, Jazz, Meredith, Johnny Mercer, George, Ken, Wilder, Aren, Copley, Beacon Hill, Bill Evans, Ambrosio, Jimmy Van Heusen, Ira Gershwin

Meredith D'Ambrosio in 1981

One of my regrets about my college years in Boston during the 1970s is not going to see Meredith D'Ambrosio perform around town. Back then, I was either at the Harvard "Coop" buying jazz LPs, at Paul's Mall and the Jazz Workshop at night during the week and at discos on the weekends. Soon after I started JazzWax in 2007, I made up for lost time, and Meredith and I have been close pals ever since. Yesterday, I spent much of the afternoon with Meredith's Another Time. Recorded in 1981 at the Bea...
Tags: Amazon, Boston, Jazz, Meredith, Johnny Mercer, George, Ken, Wilder, Aren, Copley, Beacon Hill, Bill Evans, Jimmy Van Heusen, Ira Gershwin, Bob Dorough, Hoagy Carmichael

The Sammy Nestico Sessions

The swingin'est arranger around today is Sammy Nestico. In fact, Sammy probably has held that title since the late 1960s, when he first arranged Count Basie's album Straight Ahead. My first encounter with Sammy's finger-snapping scores was in the early 1970s, when I was in high school. As member of the school's dance band, I recall that Mr. Lowery, the band's teacher and conductor, ordered Sammy's charts for the band. Music parts came in an envelope along with a floppy vinyl disc with all the s...
Tags: Jazz, United States Army, Sammy, Lowery, Marc Myers, Johnny Mandel, Sammy Nestico, Sammy All, Sammy Sessions IAN Formed, Noel Coward Tippin, Erskine Hawkins Frankie Johnny, Sammy my JazzWax, Sammy Sessions

Jimmy Wilkins (1921-2018)

Jimmy Wilkins, the trombone-playing brother of arranger-saxophonist Ernie Wilkins and the last surviving member of Count Basie's original New Testament Band launched in 1951, died August 24. He was 97. In recent years, Jimmy led a big band in Las Vegas using arrangements by his brother Ernie and Frank Foster. Jimmy and I spoke every six months or so. Our last conversation was in July. I'll miss him and his Count Basie stories. Here's my entire JazzWax interview with Jimmy: JazzWax: Where were ...
Tags: Japan, New York, Navy, Washington, Virginia, Post Office, Indianapolis, Chicago, Army, Davis, Jazz, Ohio, Las Vegas, West Coast, Johnson, St Louis

Bill Watrous (1939-2018)

Bill Watrous, a jazz trombonist who came up in the 1960s just as jazz was fading and the trombone was transitioning into studio orchestras and funk-soul groups such as the Jazz Crusaders and Kool and the Gang, died on July 2, 2018. He was 79. Watrous's finest work was on ballads. His singing trombone style on slow tunes was achingly melodic and glossy smooth, a pristine sound matched only by a handful of other players in the '60s and beyond, most notably Urbie Green and Carl Fontana. As Watrou...
Tags: Jazz, Marc Myers, Shining Sea, Johnny Mandel, Bill Watrous, Watrous, Carl Fontana, Urbie Green, Bill Watrous Carl Fontana

Pinky Winters: Lonely One

First, let me say there are no bad Pinky Winters albums—and they span more than 50 years. Which is extraordinary, since many singers' early albums are often best and get progressively lighter as the voice ages and work slows. Second, great musicians have always been smitten with Winters's phrasing and tone, which is reedy, jazzy and deftly inventive. So it comes as no surprise that her big inspiration from the time she was 15 was Sarah Vaughan. On each of her albums, Winters has no problem lea...
Tags: Nbc, Jazz, Winters, Wolf, Sarah Vaughan, Jim Wolf, Marc Myers, Zoot Sims, Johnny Mandel, Jackie Cain, Howard Roberts, Chico Hamilton, Lou Levy, Gerald Wiggins, Pinky Winters, Bob Hardaway

Sal Nistico at Carmelo's, 1981

For much of the latter part of the 19th century and into the post-war years, Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley was a center of Italian immigration. Prior to residential development in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the Valley was a draw for those who arrived in the States from Italy to work as stone masons and farmers. Northern Italians arrived in L.A. first in the late 1800s, followed by Southern Italians in the early 20th century. In the 1940s, many Italian-Americans who had served in World ...
Tags: Chuck, New York, Los Angeles, Munich, Italy, Jazz, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, States, Griffin, Bolivia, Equinox, Walton, Valley, Herman, Brien

Sweet Smell of Success

As the years progressed in the 1950s, a growing number of movies began to feature jazz-flavored scores. Film music's shift to a more contemporary feel was being expressed in virtually all areas of art and design. Starting roughly mid-decade, sleek modernism took hold in architecture, car design, home furnishings and even office furniture as prefabrication, glass, non-hierarchical geometry and futurism replaced stone, claustrophobic interiors and pre-war stuffiness. In film, this trend was refle...
Tags: New York, Hollywood, New York Times, Broadway, Chico, Jazz, Times, Leith Stevens, Tony Curtis, Bernstein, Shorty Rogers, Dave Pell, Bob Cooper, Paul Horn, Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini

Ahmad Jamal and Fender Rhodes

We tend to think of Ahamd Jamal as a pioneer of the elegant jazz trio, a style he perfected in the 1950s by making ample use of space, swing and the upper register of the piano keyboard. Or we think of Ahmad's more recent abstract recordings that are bold and percussive. In between, there was a brief period when Ahmad recorded on the Fender Rhodes electric piano. He released only three studio albums on which he recorded extensively on the instrument. Of course, all three albums for 20th Century...
Tags: Marseille, Jazz, Cbs, Jamaica, Marvin Gaye, WSJ, Fender, Rhodes, Richard Evans, Dan, Ahmad, Thom Bell, Jamal, Ahmad Jamal, Marc Myers, Johnny Mandel

Six Videos: Tony Bennett

On June 20, the Library of Congress announced that this year's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song will be awarded to Tony Bennett. He will accept the award in Washington, D.C., in November. Congratulations, Tony! Yesterday, I drilled down deep into the YouTube vaults for rare Tony video clips: Here's Tony recording The Trolley Song for his Movie Song Album in 1966 (Al Cohn arranged; I can pick out Zoot Sims and Al Cohn in the reed section; that's producer Ernie Altschuler with the cigar and Johnny...
Tags: London, Washington, Jazz, Las Vegas, Library Of Congress, Tony, Tony Bennett, Sands Hotel, Marc Myers, Al Cohn, Johnny Mandel, Ernie Altschuler, Tom Jones Show, Steve Allen Plymouth Show, Henry ManciniTony Bennett

Art Pepper Quartet: Nov. 1956

The second half of 1956 was a highly successful recording period for alto saxophonist Art Pepper. His streak began in July of that year when he appeared on Short Rogers' The Big Shorty Rogers Express (RCA). Prior to July, Pepper endured a tough emotional period. He served time in jail on drug charges from February to July 1955. But his freedom was short-lived. After violating the terms of his early release, Pepper was back in prison from July 1955 to June 1956, an extended duration that left hi...
Tags: Hollywood, California, Los Angeles, Jazz, Carmichael, West Coast, Baker, Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Diane, Freeman, Heath, Laurie, Hollywood Blvd, Russ Freeman, William Claxton

David Allyn: Radio Interview

One of the finest pure-jazz male vocalists in the LP era was David Allyn. He easily was among the hippest uptempo singers and one of the most heartbreaking balladeers. It's hard not to snap your fingers when David launches into swingers on albums or tear up when he works a vulnerable torch song. David had amazing early experience, starting with trombonist Jack Teagarden in 1941, the same year Frank Sinatra was with trombonist Tommy Dorsey. [Photo above of David Allyn by Olivia Myers at Dizzy's ...
Tags: New York, Minneapolis, David, Jazz, Frank Sinatra, Tommy Dorsey, Marc Myers, Radio Interview, Bill Holman, Johnny Mandel, Jack Teagarden

Artie Shaw: Pied Piper

On a Sunday afternoon in July 1946, CBS's Columbia Workshop broadcast The Pied Piper of Hamelin, featuring a story adaptation and music by Artie Shaw. The national radio show broadcast from Columbia Square in Hollywood was aimed at young kids home from school. Weeks later, Shaw's label, Musicraft, brought together Shaw and the broadcast's ensemble to re-tell the story on three 78s, which were released as an album that fall as a holiday item. [Photo above of Ava Gardner and Artie Shaw at the Clu...
Tags: Hollywood, Jazz, Cbs, Ava Gardner, Shaw, Hamelin, Pied Piper, Artie Shaw, Marc Myers, Hank Jones, Jimmy Raney, Johnny Mandel, Krazy Kat, Gramercy Five, Dick Nivison, Pied Piper of Hamelin

Shirley Horn at the 4 Queens

If you were a female jazz vocalist who began your recording career in 1959 or later, you were almost certainly in trouble. Not only were you entering real estate already crowded with band veterans such as Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, Peggy Lee, June Christy, Carmen McRae, Julie London and Joe Stafford but you also were going up against pop titans including Patti Page, Dinah Shore, Eydie Gormé, Rosemary Clooney and so many others. To complicate matters, the market in the ea...
Tags: New York, California, Washington, Queens, Jazz, Las Vegas, Sarah, Vaughan, Quincy Jones, Johnny, Nancy Wilson, Diana Krall, Horn, Bobby Scott, McRae, Shirley Horn

Weekend Wax Bits

In The Wall Street Journal this week, I interviewed actor Kiefer Sutherland for my "House Call" column in the Mansion section (go here). Turns out Keith grew up in an ethnically diverse Toronto apartment complex and can still make a mean Sri Lankan curry. His new debut album is superb, by the way, and he stars in Designated Survivor, starting Sept. 21. [Photo above of Kiefer Sutherland by Jennifer Roberts for The Wall Street Journal ] Here's a track from the album... And here's a trai...
Tags: New York, Abc, Washington Post, Toronto, Glendale, Jazz, Miami, John Coltrane, Shep Gordon, Mansion, Wall Street Journal, WSJ, Kiefer Sutherland, Jack Daniels, Keith, Moore

Johnny Mandel: Krazy Kat

By the late 1940s, most of the marquee big bands fronted by Swing Era bandleaders featured bebop arrangements. Bebop's popularity at the end of the decade owed a great deal to the increased influence of jazz disc jockeys, concert promoters and writers who championed the new music. Developed mid-decade by African-American musicians such as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Kenny Clarke and Max Roach as well as a handful of white musicians including Stan Levey, Shelly Manne and Al Haig...
Tags: Jazz, West Coast, Johnny, Shaw, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Marc Myers, Al Haig, Max Roach, Jimmy Raney, Al Cohn, Artie, Tiny Kahn, Al Cohn Elliot Lawrence Tiny Kahn, Johnny Mandel, Krazy Kat

Soundtrack Review: Point Blank

Point Blank Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score Point Blank by Johnny Mandel. At a glance: Geek Score: 75.6 Total Minutes Of Excellence: 13.2 Album Excellence: 33.13% How are the scores calculated and what does it mean? Point Blank is a 1967 American neo-noir thriller film directed by John Boorman and starring Lee Marvin, Angie Dickinson and Keenan Wynn. A ruthless crook, Walker (Lee Marvin), is betrayed by his partner, Mal Reese (John Vernon), who leaves him for de...
Tags: Music, Thriller, Film Scores, 60s, John Boorman, Alcatraz Island, Alcatraz, Walker, Reese, Chris Walker, Film Score Monthly, Johnny Mandel, 1967, Keenan Wynn, Point Blank Soundtrack Review, Lee Marvin Angie Dickinson

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