Re: "Secret Agent" Jazz
The style really began with a show called M Squad in the 1950s, that starred Lee Marvin. From what I've seen of it on cable, it looked like a pretty tough show for the time in television, and was based on film noir stuff like those Sam Spade/Mike Hammer tales from the 1940s. That kind of original movie music was always pretty brassy and direct, but what made M Squad cool and a little different was that Count Basie's band actually performed the music, so the jazz connection, the saxophone solos, all that, was pretty obvious.
Just a little after that the style really took off with the show Peter Gunn that featured Henry Mancini's M Squad styled music that had many more commercial hooks. Supposedly the theme itself was so catchy that it became an instrumental hit on its own. My dad got me interested in the show when he told me me how there was a lot of jazz on it because the main character on the show was this very cool detective who loved jazz. I guess had these characters liked country music, the whole thing would have been different.
But after these first shows became popular everybody copied them as they always do until people move to something else. So in the late 50s and early 60s, it looked like you had a lot of similar music. Then when guys took the style into lawyer shows like Perry Mason, it seemed like it was everywhere. Like today, when there's a murder on TV there's hip hop in the background. Back then it was this in your face jazz, because people had liked the style of those first shows.
Also according to older musicians, all these composers knew each other very well. John Williams and John Barry/the James Bond guy/ even did gigs together where Mancini conducted the orchestras. So you know they had to be together talking about this.
James Bond movies showed up in the early 60s and supposedly John Barry was asked to do Peter Gunn with a pre Beatles rock thing in the rhythm section to keep up with the times. From that, the whole thing just morphed into this other thing with Goldfinger and those themes, and then that created an entirely new version of this when those styles became more commercial with Secret Agent Man etc. Then came from that the old TV Batman theme, Green Hornet, all of it. While that's all happening, Barry's old teacher Mancini is still dishing out the slightly older style with Pink Panther, while John Williams and his guys are starting to provide a version of this with the middle of the road science fiction like Lost in Space and all that. So after a while you would almost have been scared to have done something too different if a cop, lawyer, or detective was involved as a character on your show.
But then it looks like the Vietnam era music kinda showed up and changed the style of these things. And when Sean Connery left James Bond and new guys took the role, the music reflected the times where movie and TV themes were less about scores, and more about a group of songs all strung together. It stayed like that until John Williams showed up with Star Wars and the old school film scoring. It's amazing to me how all this goes full circle.
The whole thing had a nostalgia comeback with the Naked Gun/Tales from Police Squad movies. I think it's pretty obvious that M Squad and Peter Gunn was the inspiration for all that.
Yeah, if you see all of this as one thing, it was a huge musical style that definately once had its time.
My grandfather loves this stuff and helped me explain this.
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