When not… raging against the dying of the light, I enjoy the simple pleasures… like any other son of Africa.
One of those pleasures of late… is music, specifically instrumental soundtracks with a heavy funk/jazz vibe… and even more specifically, the early soundtracks of Quincy Jones.
I mentioned the IN COLD BLOOD album a few posts back. Well since then I have managed to get my hands on that 1967 record (My criticisms of Ebay aside, it can at times come in handy for buyers. Particularly for items like IN COLD BLOOD which are not available on CD) and the kindest and most succinct way to summarize my reaction to that 40 year old album is… it blew my mind.
I mean the sample of the IN COLD BLOOD title track, that I had heard on a music podcast (that started this whole soundtrack obsession. Thank you Ratso for making me broke! Proof positive that letting people share music actually HELPS sales!) had prepped me for the album to be good, but I didn’t dare to hope the whole thing would be great.
And it is. The IN COLD BLOOD soundtrack is a remarkable achievement that sounds devastating, inventive, original and ahead of its time today, so I can’t quite put in perspective what it must have been like hearing this score for the first time in 1967.
I can’t imagine it, back then, not winning Quincy Jones a nomination (which it did), and more deservedly the Academy award.
It is a brief album, I forgot the tight and effective pacing of LPs in the days before CDs. The score comes in at well under 36 minutes total.
But what a half hour.
All I can say is… once the album was done, I immediately had to listen to it again, and again. That is the sign of a masterfully constructed album.
Now those praises heaped on this album, there are some downsides. While I have a very pristine album copy and the sound is great, this soundtrack is too important and too good not to get remastered and made available on CD; because while I respect and admire Mr. Jones’ staggering accomplishments and body of work to date, for me… these early instrumental soundtracks are (excuse my slide into 70s speak) where it’s at. :)
I mean I will not be surprised if my greatest audio discovery of 2009 turns out to be a 40+ year old record called IN COLD BLOOD. It is that brilliant.
However that raises other problems. Jazzed by the BLOOD score, I went looking for other early Quincy Jones scores. Let me tell you right now… a cheap past-time that is not.
And so far what I’m finding is the other scores while good, and in places brilliant can not hold a candle to IN COLD BLOOD. Now I say that having only tried DOLLARS and THE LOST MAN. A lot of people praise those two scores, but I was underwhelmed, particularly by DOLLARS. Your mileage may vary.
But as I said, I’m still waiting to receive THE PAWNBROKER, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, THE SPLIT, and THEY CALL ME MR. TIBBS soundtracks (CD when available, LP when not).
I’ve sampled online some of his THE SPLIT soundtrack and that one I think may be up there with IN COLD BLOOD, also i’m hearing good things about the THEY CALL ME MR. TIBBS score. So I’ll offer my take on those scores when they come in.
In addition researching Quincy Jones’ early soundtrack work has also put on my radar some of his early jazz albums as well as soundtrack albums by other composers. What can I say… I’m a compulsive dude, I can latch onto a few passions to the exclusion of pretty much all else. I can go years without watching tv or reading comics, and then something will launch itself on my radar and suddenly I’m consuming years worth of DVDs and Comics in weeks.
Currently I’m in my music phase, with a side compulsion in books. And boy is my wallet not happy with me. :)
Anyhow to help you also get in on this soundtrack kick (hey why should I be the only one going broke) I’m going to direct you to a few nifty links:
So who is this Quincy Jones cat?
Well for those of you asking that question, or for those just seeking more info, SOUL WALKING has put together a pretty darn comprehensive page, on the living legend that is Quincy Jones. Check it out here!
Now that you know who the man is, I guess you want to hear a little bit of what he brings to the table.
Well it just so happens that DJ Spinnas has put together a pretty awesome tribute/mashup to the work of Quincy Jones. You can check it out here!
It’s exceptionally well put together, though if I had to fault it for anything it is a little too heavy into Quincy’s later vocal collaborations, which is really not my cup of tea. Just stick to the crazy instrumentals and I’m there. But my personal bias aside, it is brilliantly done… and definitely recommended!
Moving on, here are two places that review soundtracks and records, I generally think their reviews are whacked :) (I’m joking– not!), but both are expansive sites and quite informative, so check it out for yourself:
If you can’t find the CD/record you are looking for through the usual suspects, you may want to give the following sites a look. I have not done business with them yet, so can’t speak on that, but what I can say is the below sites are a joy to browse though and offer detailed info on the products, and include sound clips. They had me at hello. :)
The sites are:
DUSTY GROOVE (doesn’t offer sound-clips unfortunately, but their excellent reviews help make up for it)
Well that’s it folks, you’ve been turned onto IN COLD BLOOD and been given places to learn, hear, and ultimately purchase more. So without further ado kiddies go out there and… listen.
Till next time… be safe, be free. And if you can’t be both, choose the latter. :) .
LAST MINUTE EDIT: Wanted to give some love to another Soundtrack Review site, perhaps “THE” Soundtrack Review Site, SCORE BABY! Just a stellar site from bottom to top, and if it doesn’t spur you to purchase copious amounts of soundtracks, than you have more willpower than I do. :) Swing by here to take a look!.
And tell them HT sent you!