Week Three of Jazz Goes to the Movies features music from four films: “Anatomy of a Murder” (1959), “The Pawnbroker” (1964), “Blow Up” (1966) and “Trouble Man” (1972).

Produced and directed by Otto Preminger, “Anatomy of a Murder” was the first major Hollywood motion picture to feature a score by a black composer. Preminger chose Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. The soundtrack won a Grammy Award for Best Soundtrack Album. Ellington would score three additional movies including “Paris Blues” (1961), “Assault on a Queen” (1966) and “Change of Mind” (1969). Additionally, in 1968 he composed music for an art film project that was never completed due to a lack of financing called “Degas’ Racing World”.

Directed by Sidney Lumet, “The Pawnbroker” was the first film produced in the US with a score by Quincy Jones. Many more were to follow including “Mirage” (1965), “In Cold Blood” (1967), “In the Heat of the Night” (1967), Alex Haley’s “Roots” (1977) for ABC-TV and “The Color Purple” (1985).

Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni enlisted Herbie Hancock to compose music for his film “Blow Up.” As it was being produced in Great Britain, the score needed to be recorded there and employ British musicians. Herbie dutifully complied but the results weren’t great. As Canada was a British Commonwealth, Herbie was able to skirt the requirement by choosing to re-record the score in Toronto with a band of Canadian musicians. We’ll never know how good (or bad) the recording by the Canadian musicians sounded as once completed, Herbie headed off to New York City to record the score yet again with some of the city’s best musicians: Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Ron Carter and Jack DeJohnette.  Herbie marked the tape boxes “Canada” before flying back with them to London. As Antonioni was quite the jazz fan, upon playback he correctly guessed the names of the New York musicians Herbie hired. The ruse was on.

After the success of Marvin Gaye’s album “What’s Going On” (1971) which also included four hit singles, he signed a million dollar contract with Motown that also granted him creative control. To cash in on the success of “Blaxploitation” films such as “Shaft” with music by Isaac Hayes and “Superfly” with music by Curtis Mayfield, Motown won the rights to produce the movie “Trouble Man.” Marvin Gaye was given the opportunity to write its score.

We’ll also note the birthdate of the iconic musician (and sometimes film scorer) Ry Cooder.  In a career that’s stretched over more than 50 years, his recordings have featured early jazz (including pianist Earl Hines), Afro-Cuban (with guitarist Manuel Galban), rock (with guitarist/vocalist Nick Lowe in the band Little Village) and African/World Music (with guitarist Ali Farka Toure).  A multi-Grammy Award winner, Ry has also received a couple of Honorary Doctorates.

Listen in to The Night Beat on Wednesday, March 15, at 8 pm with Doug Crane for week three of “Jazz Goes to the Movies” on KUVO JAZZ, the Oasis in the City.

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