The covers for Rhino Records' two-part collection of 'Crime Jazz.'
A friend recently turned me on to "Crime Jazz," the two-volume soundtrack collection from Rhino featuring ominous, jazzy theme music from 1950s TV shows and movies in which very bad people do very bad things. It'd be great music for a cocktail party where you serve themed drinks and dress up with fake shotgun wounds, or one of those dinner theater parties where there's a crime, and everyone has to try and solve it. I love driving around Los Angeles with this CD blaring from my rolled-down windows.
The website PopCult has a great collection of covers from LPs of that era, and a little musical history:
In the '50s, a new style of musical score was introduced to movie soundtracks: jazz. Previously, movie music meant sweeping orchestral themes or traditional Broadway-style musicals. But with the growing popularity of bebop and hard bop as the sound of urban cool, studios began latching onto the now beat as a way to make their movies seem gritty or "street." In some cases, they hired actual jazz musicians to do the job, such as Duke Ellington for Paris Blues. More often, they hired young composers who grafted jazz elements into big band arrangements (Elmer Bernstein being perhaps the foremost practitioner). Although jazz was used for all sorts of movies and television shows, it seemed to meld best with stories of danger—hard-nosed detective tales, studies of urban corruption, or spy thrillers. While not exactly on the same level of artistic expression as the leading jazz artists of their respective times, these compositions nevertheless convey the emotions demanded by the shows they backed. Many of them even employed the talents of great players like Stan Getz, Shorty Rogers, Quincy Jones, and Shelly Manne.
The winner of our annual Treasure Island Music Festival haiku ticket contest will see The National, Deadmau5, FKA Twigs, The War On Drugs, Chvrches, Father John Misty, Lower Dens, Jose Gonzalez, and many more artists at our favorite musical extravaganza taking place October 17 and 18 on the San Francisco Bay. As you’ll recall, our […]
My friend Rachel Demy has spent a decade managing tours and doing production for bands like The National, St. Vincent, Death Cab for Cutie, and many others. For all those years, she’s always had a camera around her neck, seizing rare opportunities to capture fleeting moments of art, joy, sadness, and friendship on and off […]
San Francisco’s Swedish American Hall, a beautiful 1907 building on Market Street, has been totally renovated while maintaining its historic detail, and now our friends at Noise Pop are curating a marvelous lineup of intimate performances from some great indie and alt.music artists. Tonight is Milo Greene (video below), tomorrow is Widowspeak, Saturday is Villagers, […]
Power up your gadgets in the most unexpected places with the extremely compact SolarJuice battery pack. SolarJuice charges up at home like your average battery pack, but also lets you add extra juice on-the-go using its built-in solar panel—so you’ll never be left unplugged from the digital world.4.5 Stars on Amazon!Simultaneously charges 2 devices at […]
Hold your camera to higher standards with the brand-new iBlazr 2, the most advanced LED flash to date. Simply attach to your smartphone, tablet, or DSLR camera. Conveniently sized and wireless, this premium flash will let you easily take amazing photos in low light situations. It’s a literal snap to use: simply attach to your […]
Moment of truth: Is “Microsoft Office Expert” on your resume, but not totally accurate? This pay what you want bundle will not only help you brush up on old skills, but teach you advanced techniques that will impress your current and future boss. From intricate Excel formulas to Outlook organization hacks, you’ll not only boost […]