Since the debut edition of Five-Star Favs offered up classic rock, I thought I’d change gears this time around and present one of my top favorites from the world of cool jazz. After all, one of the guiding principles of the GMC has always been proving that geezers like all kinds of music. (Well, most kinds.)
Anyhow, today’s choice is a piece of music that goes back to the 1950s, and helped awaken an appreciation for jazz in a certain goofy teenager. As I’ve written before, I was definitely unfocused musically in those days (and in other ways too) but when I first heard the driving, hypnotic opening of the theme song for a new TV show called Peter Gunn, I was hooked.
It was something new for a lot of other folks, too. TV private-eye shows, like most other kinds of programs in those days, often used fairly anonymous background music. But Peter Gunn announced that it was something different with the opening notes of the theme, and Mancini’s music continued to show up throughout the show. In fact, some of the characters were jazz musicians (many played by the real thing) so the show was definitely exploring new territory.
In subsequent years a lot of different musicians have enjoyed some success with the theme song itself. Duane Eddy sold a lot of records with it and — now in his seventies — still performs it in many of his live appearances. Modern artists include everybody from Emerson, Lake and Palmer to Jeff Beck.