AOTW October 16 -22

54 posts in this topic

On 8/29/2006 at 10:19 AM, Larry Kart said:

Not to put fine a point on it, and also not to say that Tatro's "Jazz for Moderns" doesn't stand up on purely musical terms...

Or as the Tao Te Ching teaches us, "The farther ya travel, the less Yanow."

Edited by Teasing the Korean

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So LaLaLand's two-disc set of music from "The Invaders" includes 4 scores by Dominic Frontiere, the composer most associated with the show, and who also famously scored season 1 of "The Outer Limits."

But "The Invaders" collection includes SIX scores by Duane Tatro:

  • The Saucer
  • Valley of the Shadow
  • The Spores
  • The Prophet
  • The Captive
  • Counter-Attack

I plan to listen to "Jazz for Moderns" on repeat for a while, and then compare to these six scores.  

4 hours ago, Larry Kart said:

 BTW, on Art Pepper's album "Smack Up" he plays (quite beautifully) Tatro's "Maybe Next Year" from "Jazz For Moderns."

Thanks, I have that on LP but have not spun it in a while.  I will revisit.

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I received Jazz for Moderns, thanks to a member here who sold it to me at a very reasonable price.

I have now listened to it, I believe, 5 times.

I have been doing other things while listening, so I have not given it my undivided, but I think I have formed a general impression of it.  

I very much like the album, although individual tracks and melodies thus far have not really distinguished themselves.  Everything feels like it is more or less of the whole, which for me is an extremely positive thing, as I tend to love albums that create their own consistent universe.  

The phrase I would use to generally describe this album is "Bullwinkle Moderne," and I use this phrase in more than one sense.  

First, some of the harmonies and extremes in pitch remind me of The Great Frank Comstock's Bullwinkle bumpers.

Second, the music sometimes feels like the aural equivalent of minimalist moderne Bullwinkle backdrops, in particular some of the backgrounds used in "Fractured Fairy Tales."

So, I am very happy with this purchase, and it lives up to its title and album cover.  As we all know, the music would not be anywhere near this good if the title and cover art were boring.  Album cover art is, after all, the reason we love music to begin with.

I will soon post my reviews of Tatro's aforementioned scores for The Invaders. 



Edited by Teasing the Korean

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Came across mention of Tatro in Derrick Bang’s new book Crime And Spy Jazz On Screen Since 1971

>>The scoring assignment (for The Manhunter) went to veteran clarinetist and saxophonist Duane Tatro, known for stints with bands fronted by Stan Kenton and Mel Torme, and as the composer of his  one and only swing LP; 1956’s well-received Jazz For Moderns. Tatro subsequently gravitated toward television, and The Manhunter was his only solo assignment; he gives the show a strong blend of period jazz and Americana.

”The most fun I ever had was with The Manhunter,” he recalled. “I got to stretch out musically. I had sort of a 12-toned score, which was very helpful in creating edgy music and slipping into country themes. We used a lot of guitars. I used a gut-string guitar on the pilot, interrupted it with an orchestra when they’d get to a roadblock. The series theme came from the theme I’d written for Ken Howard’s character in the pilot. It combined country with a contemporary sound.”

Guitars are indeed prominent in Tatro’s title theme; so is the aggressively growling piano that anchors an agitated rhythm section. The melody doesn’t immediately emerge from the cacophony of brass and reeds, and—when it does—the motif is as twitchy as the rest of the cue. The theme plays against a montage of sepia-hued photographs that evoke the era, with additional clips appearing in fat arrows that point toward and away from the four points of the compass. Brass flourishes then synch to all four arrows as they emanate from a close-up of Howard. Tatro’s underscore cues often employ harmonica and accordion against tasty jazz orchestration, to evoke the American ambiance.

The series and Tatro’s music have slipped into obscurity, although the title theme finally popped up in 2019’s The Quinn Martin Collection, V. 1: Cop and Detective Series.<<

I haven’t listened to Jazz For Moderns in quite awhile (though Tatro’s recent passing should have sparked me into taking it off the shelf), but memory allows that calling it a “swing LP” would be quite a conceptual reach by most standards. I assume Bang meant to imply that it was Tatro’s only jazz album. Anyway, that’s not to denigrate the book, which provides chronologically encyclopedic overview of its subject, with running commentary similar to the passage above. 

Edited by ghost of miles

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