Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2014 April 14 • Monday

The 314th Soundtrack of the Week is Kenny Graham's music for The Small World of Sammy Lee.

It starts with "Soho at Dawn" and an appropriately gentle, flute-driven cue that reminded me a bit of George Delerue's theme for The Conformist. The mood continues in "Peepshow Bins" but with tenor saxophone as the main voice.

"Thought at Home" is a little perkier with some nice interplay between electric guitar and percussion. The next piece, "Sammy 4", could be a cousin to "Soho at Dawn" but with conga drum and a slightly more swinging rhythm.

There's a lot of space in "The Hustling Starts" with horns, flute and percussion playing around each other. Eventually electric guitar enters for a duet with the flute and a reprise of the "Soho at Dawn" theme.

Things pick up with the lively "Dash to Bellman's", still the same combo we've been hearing but in a more energetic vein. (It seems that nobody knows who the musicians on this recording were). The music continues directly but with a trumpet solo in "Salt Beef".

"Four O'Clock Hop" is much hotter, with a Man with the Golden Arm-type feel to it and more aggressive drums and guitar. At first the mood of "Glasses? You Need Glasses?" is comic, with piccolo and timpani recalling cartoon music, but then it switches into an urgent, bongo-driven section.

Things get tense and suspenseful with "And None of Your Horse Manure" before becoming gentle and sleepy with "Patsy Asleep in the Flat", which has some beautiful tenor playing. The same tenor and melody continue in the next cue, "There's Never Been Anyone But You Sammy".

Flute comes in and the music remains serene but sounds sadder in "Some of Us Care Sammy". Things get active and start jumping again in the thirty-second "Get 'art of It!".

"It Just Wouldn't Work" is close to being a reprise of the main theme, with rumbling timpani for tension. The same mood continues for "Rue 902", the final track on this short but lovely CD. Thanks to Trunk Records for locating and releasing this great jazz score!