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Bullitt (1968)
Music by Lalo Schifrin
Bullitt Bullitt
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 10000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: December 2009
Catalog #: Vol. 12, No. 17
# of Discs: 1

FSM presents one of the most quintessentially “cool” soundtracks ever: Lalo Schifrin’s score for the classic urban crime drama, Bullitt (1968). The film stars Steve McQueen as San Francisco police detective Frank Bullitt, caught up with protecting a Chicago mobster from vengeful Mafia hit-men while dealing with an ambitious, sleazy politician portrayed by Robert Vaughn. With its riveting story, realistic settings, taut screenplay and quasi-documentary cinematography, it brought a new depth to McQueen’s portrayal of tough characters (this one on the right side of the law).

An essential part of the film’s success was its economical, nervous jazz score; the Argentinean-born, classically trained Schifrin was then at the height of the fame generated by his iconic Mission: Impossible television theme. The film is judiciously spotted, with relatively little “action” music (the famous car chase is unscored) but several atmospheric and evocative source cues. Schifrin himself described it as “very simple” and “completely based on the blues.”

Shortly after recording the film soundtrack, Schifrin led a separate recording for a Warner Bros. Records album. Jazz greats featured in those sessions include Bud Shank (flute), Ray Brown (bass), Howard Roberts (guitar) and Larry Bunker (drums). FSM presents the first U.S. release of that album on this CD, newly mixed by Mike Matessino from the original 1" eight-track master tape.

The CD also includes the never-before-released complete film soundtrack itself, recorded at the Warner Bros. scoring stage in Burbank by legendary engineer Dan Wallin. These tracks have been newly mixed and mastered from ½” three-track tape stored at the studio. While some score passages and cues are virtually identical to the record album, many of the film soundtrack’s softer, moodier cues were not chosen for the LP—or had certain passages rewritten. And some were dropped from the film itself, so have never been heard before by the public—until now.

The booklet includes a perceptive, in-depth essay on the film and its score by John Bender and detailed track-by-track commentary by Alexander Kaplan. Bullitt is an essential purchase for any “cool” soundtrack collection (or collector), and adds one more title to FSM’s expanding catalog of scores by a living legend of film music.

Lalo Schifrin Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Lalo Schifrin (b. 1932) is an Argentinean-born composer, conductor, arranger and pianist who has made a major impact on film, TV, the concert hall and jazz stage. He parlayed an early career as a pianist and arranger for Dizzy Gillespie into a run as one of the hottest film and TV composers of the 1960s and '70s, with projects such as Mission: Impossible, Bullitt, Dirty Harry, Cool Hand Luke, Enter the Dragon and more. His more recent films include the popular Rush Hour series. He is beloved for his Latin jazz but is also an accomplished classical composer and conductor with ongoing recording, composing and performing projects.IMDB

Comments (14):Log in or register to post your own comments
I'm loathe to use the term "cool" but when it comes to Schifrin's score for BULLITT and FSM's release of same, I can say without doubt that film music will never be as cool as Lalo's recording and original tracks were, are, and always will be. I love the Wes Montgomery-ish guitar of the main title and how it sets the mood for McQueen's character. It's the very sound of 1968 and not the forced "cool" of the Counterculture but the refined, confident sense of self that Frank Bullitt exudes. I love when a theme like this rises above merely being the character's theme and instead is the sonic equivalent of McQueen walking on screen.

I never had this score in any form and only knew of it as it existed alongside the images but the re-record has got to be the best of its kind and I can understand those who say they still prefer that over the newly-released film tracks.

What a great release. It's a thrill to have this!

I'm loathe to use the term "cool" but when it comes to Schifrin's score for BULLITT and FSM's release of same, I can say without doubt that film music will never be as cool as Lalo's recording and original tracks were are and always will be. I love the Wes Montgomery-ish guitar of the main title and how it sets the mood for McQueen's character. It's the very sound of 1968 and not the forced "cool" of the Counterculture but the refined, confident sense of self that Frank Bullitt exudes. I love when a theme like this rises above merely being the character's theme and instead is the sonic equivalent of McQueen walking on screen.

I never had this score in any form and only knew of it as it existed alongside the images but the re-record has got to be the best of its kind and I can understand those who say they still prefer that over the newly-released film tracks.

What a great release. It's a thrill to have this![/endquote]

It is a great score and a terrific release. I love having both the original tracks and the re-recording and really appreciate them in different ways. I had grown accustomed to the sound of the re-recordings (both the "original" album and the Aleph re-do) but had always liked the slower, more laid-back pace of the actual score version of the main title -- certainly it fits the onscreen images more precisely than the re-records. So we now have the best of both worlds with the tremendous FSM release. For me it's an absolute must-have score, and this release fills the gap in spectacular fashion.

It is a great score and a terrific release. I love having both the original tracks and the re-recording and really appreciate them in different ways. I had grown accustomed to the sound of the re-recordings (both the "original" album and the Aleph re-do) but had always liked the slower, more laid-back pace of the actual score version of the main title -- certainly it fits the onscreen images more precisely than the re-records. So we now have the best of both worlds with the tremendous FSM release. For me it's an absolute must-have score, and this release fills the gap in spectacular fashion.

I've waited about thirty years for this to happen. That's when I saw the film for the first time.
I always loved the LP version, but the original tracks are simply "the real thing" - one of my all-time favourite scores, and a true "holy grail" up to the moment of FSMs release.
I could listen to this music every day (and after the new album was released, I did just that. More than once a day, that is). Still thrilled by the mere existence of this CD...

For someone having no familiarity with the original album tracks, the new FSM release is fascinating in terms of how close the film & re-recording cuts are.

While the main title gets some of its jagged edges rounded-off in the album track, some of the other changes -especially in the source cuts- are pretty subtle. One wonders why the time/money were spent to re-record them at all when the film tracks weren't necessarily all that "cuey" to begin with.

A great release of a hip score.

I love how different some of them are, but at the same time were this a 'new' score with only the album option available, such a thing would annoy me.

Suffice it to say, this is a fantastic CD, and even though it's two 'programs', it still works perfectly fine to listen the whole way.

I'm loathe to use the term "cool" but when it comes to Schifrin's score for BULLITT and FSM's release of same, I can say without doubt that film music will never be as cool as Lalo's recording and original tracks were are and always will be. I love the Wes Montgomery-ish guitar of the main title and how it sets the mood for McQueen's character. It's the very sound of 1968 and not the forced "cool" of the Counterculture but the refined, confident sense of self that Frank Bullitt exudes. I love when a theme like this rises above merely being the character's theme and instead is the sonic equivalent of McQueen walking on screen.

I never had this score in any form and only knew of it as it existed alongside the images but the re-record has got to be the best of its kind and I can understand those who say they still prefer that over the newly-released film tracks.

What a great release. It's a thrill to have this![/endquote]


I agree with all of the above.


Finally got this one last week, and I love listening to the original tracks. I've been playing it quite a bit lately.

Great art design as well.

I'm surprised that this one is still available. It's a true classic of the genre.

I must've been soaring high in fanboy ecstasy when I wrote my initial post. I stand by my every word (and put commas where they belonged, to boot). It's a helluva a score and FSM's presentation of it is first class.

No question, this is one of FSM's snazziest releases. I listen to it all the time. I think it's interesting that the album has a jazzier feel while the film tracks often have a harder-edged rock sound to them. I wouldn't want one over the other.

I wouldn't want one over the other.[/endquote]

Based on the lack of responses so far--this one's been out nearly a year--I'm guessing that many were satisfied with the old re-record. Too bad.

Well said gentlemen.

As usual, a lot of care was put into this release by FSM.

NP: FSM's Bullitt

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Track List
Instruments/Musicians
Click on each musician name for more credits
For more specific musician lists for the scores on this album, go here:
Bullitt Film Score
Bullitt Soundtrack Album

Leader (Conductor):
Lalo Schifrin, Lalo Schifrin

Violin:
Israel Baker, David Berman, Herman Clebanoff, Bonnie J. Douglas (Shure), Bonnie J. Douglas (Shure), Baldassare Ferlazzo, Noumi / Naomi Fischer, Sam Freed, Jr., David Frisina, David Frisina, Howard W. Griffin, Rene C. Hemery, Anatol Kaminsky, Nathan Kaproff, George Kast, George Kast, Varujan Kojian, Bernard Kundell, Marvin Limonick, Joseph Livoti, Dan Lube, Hillard Lubie, Gordon H. Marron, Alexander Murray, Jerome Joseph Reisler, Sam Ross, Paul C. Shure, Paul C. Shure, Harry Zagon

Viola:
Joseph DiFiore, Alvin Dinkin, Cecil Figelski, Phillip Goldberg, Allan Harshman, Jan Hlinka, Myra Kestenbaum, Virginia Majewski, Joseph Reilich, Anita Stein, Milton Thomas, Milton Thomas

Cello:
Douglas L. Davis, Justin DiTullio, Armand Kaproff, Armand Kaproff, Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Laurence D. Lesser, Irving Lipschultz, Kurt Reher, Nino Rosso, Emmet Sargeant

Bass:
Max R. Bennett, Raymond M. "Ray" Brown, William Plummer

Flute:
C. E. "Bud" Shank

Saxophone:
Gene Cipriano, Ronald Langinger (aka Ronny Lang), Jack Nimitz, William R. Perkins, C. E. "Bud" Shank

Woodwinds:
Justin Gordon, Plas Johnson, Arnold Koblentz, Ronald Langinger (aka Ronny Lang), Ted Nash, Jack Nimitz

Trumpet:
John Audino, Austin "Bud" Brisbois, Conte Candoli, Don Ellis, Carroll "Cappy" Lewis, Larry McGuire, Anthony "Tony" Terran, Stuart Williamson

Trombone:
Milton Bernhart, Milton Bernhart, Hoyt Bohannon, Lewis Melvin McCreary, Richard Noel, Richard Noel, Frank Rosolino, Kenneth Shroyer, Lloyd E. Ulyate

Piano:
Ralph E. Grierson, Michael Melvoin, Ray Sherman

Keyboards:
Paul Beaver

Guitar:
Robert F. Bain, Robert F. Bain, Michael Deasy, Alton R. "Al" Hendrickson, Howard Roberts, Howard Roberts

Fender (electric) Bass:
Max R. Bennett, Max R. Bennett

Harp:
Denzil (Gail) Laughton

Drums:
Larry Bunker, Earl C. Palmer, Alvin Stoller

Percussion:
Joe Porcaro, Kenneth E. Watson, Kenneth E. Watson, Jerry D. Williams

Arranger:
George Del Barrio, Richard P. Hazard, Lalo Schifrin

Orchestra Manager:
Robert Helfer, Kurt E. Wolff

Copyist:
Lloyd Basham, Albert Glasser, Lloyd B. Luhman, Ralph Mullins, Edward E. Ocnoff, Luis Sevadjian, Aime Vereecke, Ricardo Vettraino, Scott Wallace

© 2014 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.