Sweet Smell of Success: Music from the Sound Track [60th Anniversary Expanded Edition]

Sweet Smell of Success: Music from the Sound Track [60th Anniversary Expanded Edition]

by Chico HamiltonChico Hamilton


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The themes from the film Sweet Smell of Success (originally issued on the Decca label) surround the seedy side of Broadway/New York City social life. The plot involves syndicated gossip columnist J.J. Hunsecker (played by Burt Lancaster) and talent press agent Sidney Falco (portrayed by the brilliant young Tony Curtis), and their underhanded attempts to fabricate stories that touted or smeared certain clientele. Together they set up a highly publicized incestuous love affair including Hunsecker's sister and a jazz guitarist, much to the demise of all concerned. While the music is typical '50s film noir dark and passionately hued, it is also indicative of the jazz-oriented West Side Story style of intrigue that fit with the raconteur/mafia/gangster motif of earlier times. Elmer Bernstein's orchestra plays the principal music on this, his fourth movie soundtrack, with Chico Hamilton's groundbreaking quintet playing a handful of other tracks (also included on the Fresh Sound label Complete Studio Recordings) and participating onscreen during select scenes. Hamilton's sextet, and his cellist Fred Katz leading his own band complemented by other Los Angeles musicians expanded to an orchestra, provide the rest of the sounds. The Bernstein Orchestra, organized by Bobby Helfer, features such notable West Coast jazz stars as Pete Candoli and Conte Candoli, Ted Nash, Herb Geller, Bob Cooper, Bill Holman, Dave Pell, Shelly Manne, Milt Holland, and a 16-piece string section with lead cellist Armand Kaproff. They play image-provoking music like the investigative Elliott Ness-flavored main theme "The Street," jump, jive, and wailin' "Hot Dogs and Juice," lovers' interlude "Sidney and Susie," slinky and sexy "Nite Spot Rock," Benny Goodman cum Duke Ellington "Ain't Necessarily So"-styled ballad "Goodbye Baby Blues," and calypso-infused "Tropical Island Mood." Parallel three-note phrases from the classic West Side Story theme "Maria" can be heard during the dark death dirge waltz "Hunsecker's Price," a "Mood Indigo"-based string thing "The Smear," and the bluesy "Toots Shor's Blues." Whether foreshadowing impending dramatic revelation, setting up tension and release, or preluding shock and awe, the big band plays short themes that fit the plot lines well, like all good jazz storytelling should. Hamilton's ensemble takes a different tack, more melodramatic than overt, suggesting calm-before-the-storm motifs on the dour, sorrowful "Goodbye Baby" and drawing similarities to "Motherless Child," while "Cheek to Chico" and "Sidney's Theme" are modern bop numbers with a chamber music flair accented by Paul Horn's flute, the cello of Katz, Carson Smith's lithe bass, the quick-witted guitar of John Pisano, and Hamilton's flashy brush work. The Katz-led twelvetet does "Night Beat," an exotic, sensual prelude featuring Dominic Fera's suggestive clarinet, while Hamilton's sextet, minus Horn and Katz plus Conte Candoli, pianist Ernie Hughes, and trombonist Frank Rosolino, plays the "C-Jam Blues"-based hard bopper "Jam." Certainly this is a period piece, belonging to a different place and time, standing tall as a prelude to Duke Ellington's Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and Stan Kenton's West Side Story (1961). [In 2017, the Sweet Smell of Success soundtrack was reissued in a remastered 60th Anniversary Expanded Edition featuring the 16-and-a-half-minute "Concerto of Jazz Themes" as a bonus track. The set also included liner notes by film score composer Peter Bernstein, son of Elmer Bernstein.]

Product Details

Release Date: 09/22/2017
Label: Verve
UPC: 0602557746778
catalogNumber: 002701202
Rank: 115600

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chico Hamilton   Primary Artist,Drums
Paul Horn   Clarinet
Elmer Bernstein   Conductor
Conte Candoli   Trumpet
Bob Cooper   Tenor Saxophone
Herb Geller   Alto Saxophone
Bill Holman   Tenor Saxophone
Shelly Manne   Drums
Ted Nash   Alto Saxophone
Dave Pell   Baritone Saxophone
Pete Candoli   Trumpet
Buddy Clark   Bass
Fred Katz   Cello,Conductor
Ray Linn   Trumpet
Jack Marshall   Guitar
David Frisina   Violin
Maurice Harris   Trumpet
Milt Holland   Percussion,Vibes
Sinclair Lott   Flugelhorn,Tenor Saxophone
Jack Marsh   Bassoon
George Roberts   Bass Trombone
Carson Smith   Bass
Lloyd Ulyate   Trombone
John Williams [piano]   Piano
Sylvia Ruderman   Tuba
Abe Luboff   Bass
Mitchell Lurie   Clarinet
Martin Ruderman   Flute
Gordon Schoneberg   Oboe
Seymour Zeldin   Trombone
Armand Kaproff   Cello
Manny Stevens   Trumpet
Robert Marsteller   Trombone
Wendell Hoss   Flugelhorn
Marshall Cram   Trombone
James Henderson   Trombone
Dick Perissi   Flugelhorn
Ernest Hughes   Piano
John Pidsano   Guitar
John Crown   Piano
Frank Rosino   Trombone
Klare Phillero   Clarinet
Lee Perrin   Timpani

Technical Credits

Elmer Bernstein   Composer
Chico Hamilton   Composer
Fred Katz   Composer
Didier C. Deutsch   Producer
Jack Hayes   Orchestration
Bobby Helfer   Producer
Leo Shuken   Orchestration
Andrew Skurow   Tape Research
Mike Piacentini   Producer

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