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CD: Coogan's Bluff (1968)
Review Rating:   Very Good  
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Catalog #:

Volume 223

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November 27, 2012

Tracks / Album Length:

32 tracks / (56:48)



Lalo Schifrin


Special Notes:

20-page colour bookley with liner notes by Douglass Fake / Limited Edition.

Comments :    

Coogan’s Bluff is kind of a portent of the urban jazz style Lalo Schifrin would heavily invest in Dirty Harry (1971), slickly marrying the sounds of a small jazz combo with a modest orchestra, but maintaining an intimacy where the musicians and their performing styles shine for small periods within each cue.

Melody and rhythms are delivered by hard piano hits, guitar, and drums, with strings providing a little big city gloss to illustrate the transposition of a cop from wild Arizona being dropped into the affairs of urban NYC. Schifrin’s decision to hold back on the power of the orchestra also lets his addictive main theme – a rambunctious synthesis of a classic western hero - propel the score, often through radical variations.

With his lead players versed improv, the results include a great soft drum solo extrapolated from the theme’s melodic line, or stripped-down permutations where Schifrin plays with instrumental colours with just slight use of keyboards. There’s also a lovely keyboard variation that drifts from a Renaissance configuration to more contemporary classical as the theme glides from harpsichord emulation to straight keyboards.

Like Bullitt (1968), Schifrin wrote a significant amount of source cues, and Intrada’s beautifully mastered CD features a few pieces that span classic sixties jazz: “Getting Better is dominated by a piano; two jazz-pop fusions (“Pigeon-Toed Orange Peel” and “Everybody”) feature ditsy vocals; and “Coogan’s Raga” is filled with some of the traditional Indian instruments Schifrin repurposes in a few dramatic, and would later incorporate in his urban jazz sound.

The CD closes with more straightforward dramatic cues that are rhythm-based (“Ringerman’s Chase” features bongos, piano, and a fixed ostinato), and Intrada’s boosted the CD’s length with some alternate “Main Title” outtakes, and vintage radio spots featuring reductive score material crafted by Schifrin.previously ‘released’ on a bootleg LP in bullshit stereo in 1978, augmented with material from Jerome Moross’ The Big Country (1958), John Williams’ The Cowboys (1972) theme, and a suite of material from Jerry Goldsmith’s The General with the Cock-eyed ID (1964).



© 2013 Mark R. Hasan

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