Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
rob + = email

2016 November 28 • Monday

Piero Umiliani's music for Smog is the 441st Soundtrack of the Week.

This score is a jazz-lounge confection, very much in the Mancini vein and with the added attraction of Chet Baker on some tracks.

"Neapolitan Phantasy" is an easy listening number that creates a gentle atmosphere with an Italian flavor. The brisker and bouncier "Bowling" sounds like the caffeinated response to this.

It's followed by "Dawn", a ballad with lyrics sung by a female vocalist. If it reminds you of Mancini's "Dreamsville", that's probably not a coincidence.

One of my least favorite devices is used in "Hollywood Tonight", something I always think of as the L.A. Jazz Chorus. Wordless group vocals in a very unswinging swing... Something about it makes me slightly ill. Nice soloing from the other instruments, particularly baritone sax.

"California in the Summer" reminds me of Mancini in a groovy mood. It's a cheerful, swaying number A later tune, "Tops", sounds like a variation or reworking of it.

The title song "Smog" is another soulful vocal ballad, lovely and restrained "Smog II" and "Smog Introduzione e Finale" are instrumental versions with trumpet soloing.

Things get uptempo and driving, with some unexpecte