Film Score Monthly
Search Terms: 
Search Within:   search tips 
You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
 Posted:   Jun 29, 2016 - 6:15 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

"Private Eye" was a short-lived detective drama staring Michael Woods as the dick himself. It's set in 1956.

The series bit the dust after thirteen episodes (Well, twelve with supposedly another), which was understandable, considering how boring it is and how I just didn't buy Woods as the smoking/drinking kinda hard-boiled detective, and that the episodes weren't particularly gripping.

Anyway, the show isn't important, what's important was the scoring. The scoring duties were handled by Short Rogers, alternating with Todd Rundgren, with the expection of two episodes.

Composer: Joe Jackson

Yes, the same Joe Jackson who's done some scoring from time-to-time. He also provided the show's jazzy theme music.

His scoring runs the gambit from growling noir trumpet, to softer jazzy music, to even one dramatic edgy piece with piano stabs and snare.

It's has most of what you'd want from a jazzy detective score from that era, from hand percussion, to trumpets, zylaphone, fingered double bass, cymbol crashes and more without sounding cliched. IT even whips out some free-styled sax' on a couple cues

This could have been a good vehicle for Jackson, but for some reason this was his only effort.

There's not much score in the pilot, considering the length of about a 138 minutes. I'd say maybe 20 minutes tops.

There are also some commercial shorts of the theme in following episodes, but I don't know if these were arranged by Jackson.

"Nickey the Rose" (Shorty Rogers)

"Private Eye" is rather notable for Rogers, as since I added it to his IMDb credits, it's the last project he's listed for working on, maybe his last, before retiring.

The episode opens with a swinging upbeat piece for a red carpet prmiere that segways nicely into an aggressive jazzy percussion piece as Woods makes his way into the audience.

Another piece features a cowbell for a beat during an accident at the carpet.

Another cue opens with some growling brass and segways into a smooth jazzy piece with soft cymbol taping.

There's a brief dramatic piece with two saxophones, lower octave piano stabs and a quiro.

About at the 36:00 minute mark there's a wonderful piece about a minute long that really tells you something about the state of television scoring then versus now. Now that same scene might have been scored with some low throbing synths and some noodling synthy strings, but back then listen to what you got.

The score is pure jazz of an era where jazz scores were almost dead. If you loved jazzy scoring from the 1960's and 1070's, this is sure to be right up your alley.

"War Buddy" (Rogers)
Another good jazzy score from Rogers, with highlights including:

A piece with xyplophone, flute and quick congas about 7:30.

A short piece around 24:50 with low brass and percussion.

At about 30:38 some more congas, shaker, and guiro with a saxophone playing over it.

A rhymtmic percussion piece starting at about 43:50, intercut with some menacing brass during mobster talk, that ends on a triumphant note.

And at 54:24, while not my thing, I can easily understand people enjoying a sad solo trumpet piece with piano that closes out the episode. It's about two minutes long.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2016 - 6:29 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

"Blue Movie" (Rogers)

Another top-notch effort by Rogers, with highlights such as:

Around 1:10: the off kilter lower octave piano stabs with melloncholly solo trumpet playing over it with some additional strings for suspense.

7:43 that features more lower octave piano stabs, with a conga beat

About 19:06 in that features some somber string work with occassional staccto punctuations and what I think is a solo clarinet playing over it.

33:00, which is nothing more than a short re-arrangement of Jackson's theme, but enjoyable nonetheless.

34:10: which is full of brass, a sax', and congas.

About 50:10: some conga-lead action music with brass bursts.

53:56 in wither another re-arrangement of Jackson's theme. It pauses for two or three seconds for a somber conclusion with low soft brass and strings.

And finally at 56:43 where some low brass and double bass plucks back a solo trumpet on a somber note to close out the episode.

"Blue Hotel: Part II" (Todd Rundgren)

Part I was completely muted, so I had to skip it.

Rundgren's claims to fame in scoring are ... well, he doesn't actually have any, unless you want to count the (deservedly) failed American "Red Dwarf" pilot or episodes of "Pee Wee's Playhouse".

There's nothing remarkable about his effort for this episode. The congas sound obligitory, the fake piano added over that sounds like a cheesy 1980's prime time sitcom, and the simple annoying vibraphone notes all make not only an bad dip in quality when you've had someone like Shorty Rogers doing episodes, but made worse when you hear it against screen -- it's like no attempt was made to make the music neither fit nor help the dramatics.

The rest consists of kind of bland faux rock and roll pieces. I can't recommend any of it. I will be skipping other episodes he scored and only mention something if worth mentioning.

There was one highlight: the hot blond chick. ;-)

"Barrio Nights" (Rogers)

Around 5:00 in there's a cue with the standard Rogers compliments, but this time a Spanish guitar is added for a little flavor.

About 18:34 in where normally you might have some congas drivign the action, Spanish guitar noodling takes over.

About 29:29 in with more Spanish guitar with some congas, sounding like a nice instrumental piece you might have heard played on a radio decades ago.

38:15: where it's shaken up some mroe with some fretless licks, wooden block and light use of congas with some low brass.

About 40:25 in with a nice solo Spanish guitar piece.

About 49:25 in where the Spanish guitar gets a drum kit to join in while the congas go wild and the grass. There's another good cue smiliar to that about 51:50 in. I wonder if that's Tommy Morgan on the Spanish guitar.

And finally 54:15 where more Spanish guitar and drum kit end the episode o na flavorful catchy note.

"Nobody Dies In Chinatown" (Rundgren)

Skipped. What a missed scoring oppritunity.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2016 - 6:44 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

Do the Shorty scores sound like vintage Cool and Crazy-era Shorty, or was he trying to get hip to the sounds of today?

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2016 - 7:30 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

I'm not familiar enough with Rogers to know. Check out some of the episodes I linked to to hear the music.

 Posted:   Jun 30, 2016 - 9:24 AM   
 By:   OnyaBirri   (Member)

I'm not familiar enough with Rogers to know. Check out some of the episodes I linked to to hear the music.

You would do well to pick up his Short Stops CD collection on RCA, including two of his mid-1950s 10-inch LPs, plus all four tracks from his "The Wild One" 45 RPM EP. Twenty stellar tracks, and at five bucks, you can't go wrong!

 Posted:   Jul 2, 2016 - 2:43 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

"Both Sides of the Same Coin" (Rogers)

This episode score is a little different because Shorty experiments with synths for some kind of '80's vibe (think of the opening twenty seconds or so of that cue from "Planes, Trains and Automibiles" where Neal is on the train and remembering his time with Del).

There are also some cues with a beat as Wood's character's helper investigates, such as about 27:20 in and 31:20 in.

Not every cue is of particular note, but the difference Rogers tried out here did make for a nice diversion.

"Light and Shadows" (Rogers)

At 23:40 there's a nice cue with brass a fretless guitar, featuring a brass beat.

And as 32:25 there's a night-time suspense cue with dissonent brass, a conga beat, and a solo sax.

"High Heels and Silver Wings"

When I originally started the thread, I said all the episodes where by Rogers and rundgren with two exception,s the first was Jackson. It's taken eleven episodes to get to the second exception.

When you think jazzy film and television scores, one of the first names that should pop into your head is: Lalo Schifrin. Yes, my little obssession adding missing credits to IMDb unearthed this forgotten effort. Schfrin does not disappoint.

At 7:47 in we have a steady guiro beat with fretless guitar and brass.

10:34 brings in another use sound to the series scoring as a whole: a brass flute and a contrabass(?) bassoon, segwaying into an upbeat piece for the city.

At 18:44 there's a light dramatic piece with lower octave piano and brass that picks up with some guiro and a shaker.

21:19 in there's more piano, some tense brass, guiro, sparce congas use with an odd meter.

At about 30:20 in Schifrin goes to town, breifly, with Jackson's theme in an action cue.

At about 49:25 there's another cue that's different from the series' scoring thus far, with lighter congas hits, cymbol taping with two flutes, with some breif action afterwards.

And finally at 54:24 there's a nice soft '80's feeling piece with a solo strunment playing over (a trumpet? Maybe an alto sax'?), a dreamy synth pad, and a synth piano. It comes back again to close out the episode.

"Hollywood Confidential" (Rundgren)

It's a little better, but that's not saying much. Unfortunately, this is the last episode and the final music to go out on.

It's one thing to complain about the choice of a composer, but it's another to actually offer an alternative. I think in combination with Rogers, the series would have greatly benefitted from dropping Rundgren and substituting Richard Hazard, who did his own jazzy scoring on various series.

Well, in the end if you drop the Rundgren efforts, I think a label could fit all the good stuff in on one CD, possibly two. Count me in for a copy if some label decides to tackle this one day.

 Posted:   Jun 22, 2018 - 12:33 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)


 Posted:   Apr 15, 2019 - 1:14 PM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

New links added. Highlight times likely won't line up and will be off.

 Posted:   Apr 24, 2019 - 11:42 AM   
 By:   Justin Boggan   (Member)

If there is any interest, I made two suites of score from most the episodes Shorty Rogers scored:

You must log in or register to post.
  Go to page:    
© 2023 Film Score Monthly. All Rights Reserved.
Website maintained and powered by Veraprise and Matrimont.