Rob Price
Gutbrain Records
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2022 September 12 • Monday

The 743rd Soundtrack of the Week is Music for a Private Eye by Ralph Marterie and His Marloboro Men.

It opens with Count Basie's M Squad theme, with a more swinging, more buoyant energy than the original, with Freddie Green-like guitar prominent in the mix as well as great alto sax and trumpet soloing.

A breezy and bluesy run through the Perry Mason theme is next, also perky and solid with an excellent sax solo.

The Richard Diamond theme, by Pete Rugolo, who, with Skippy Martin, is responsible for the arrangements on this record, follows, and it's also typically adroit and strong, this time with a feature for the flute.

That was also the first theme from an actual private eye show. Even more of a stretch is Alfred Hitchcock Presents, whose "Funeral March of a Marionette" theme music is given an impressive transformation into a high energy swing tune with a great piano solo.

Side A ends with the theme music from The Thin Man, the tv show, not the movie. It's similar to the M Squad arrangement, again with really good sax playing.

The B side opens with 77 Sunset Strip. They have fun with the voicings in the arrangement but it's pretty true to the original. There are really nice piano and trumpet solos.

Since the money's in publishing, an original comes next: "Private Eyeball" by Peter Hanson and Ralph Marterie. It's got almost a Glenn Miller feel to the horn arrangements but a more aggressive sound and feel. It fits in pretty well and has some wailing solos but it doesn't have the strong melodies you hear in the other tunes.

"Riff Blues" is from a Mike Hammer tv show and has a sinuous melody that could be adapted for an exotica piece, no problem. Really great hand percussion and another great sax solo make it something special as well. This might be the best cut on the album.

Then there's the theme from The D.A.'s Man, the only show I hadn't heard of before. The music sounds familiar, though, a slower bluesy piece with a more relaxed swing to it. The guitar and piano give it a Basie-ish feel.

Finally, and perhaps inevitably, we get the theme from Peter Gunn. This was the theme that launched a thousand tv jazz ships. You don't want to mess with this song but they still come up with some interesting ideas, such as having guitar introduce the riff before being joined by bass. The trumpet player also bends some melody notes into blue territory before taking off on an inspired solo.