Hugo Montenegro, More Music From The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

Posted on September 17, 2010 by

Artist: Hugo Montenegro
Title: More Music From The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Label: RCA LPM 3574
Release Date: 1966
Genre: Soundtrack / Lounge / Spy Jazz

Woooo hooooooo! What a find! 60s spy soundtracks are the bomb and this is no exception. This is the second release of music from the TV series; a show that shifted from thriller to camp and the music reflects the turn.

There’s nothing wrong with the traditional cool spy jazz that usually accompanies this content. In fact as a genre, it is highly respected. But as the series became more playful, the music became more buoyant, incorporating sambas and bossas, elements of rock and a little bit of funkiness ala Quincy Jones. “Jungle Heat,” the killer track on the album, sounds as if Money Mark & the Q were responsible for the composition.

“Boo-Bam-Boo Baby” takes on a far eastern feel, sounding like a funky Martin Denny number. “Run Spy Run,” could have been the benchmark for the soundtrack to the TV Series, Police Squad!

The two songs on the album that remains close to the traditional spy-jazz style are “Lament for a Trapped Spy;” a number very close to the Earl Hagen standard, “Harlem Nocturne,” and “Jo Jo’s Torch Song,” a song in the cadence of the “Perry Mason Theme,” but not as hip.

Hugo Montenegro arranged and conducted both volumes of music from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. but oddly enough, he never contributed any original scores. Jerry Goldsmith wrote the three original scores for the series and was followed by his protégée, Morton Stevens. (Stevens’ greatest height of popularity came as the composer of the theme to Hawaii Five-0.) Then there came a brief period where Lalo Schifrin composed and then Gerald Fried came in and was responsible for seasons two through four. Other composers for the series included, Walter Scharf, Richard Shores, Nelson Riddle and Robert Drasnin. More Music From The Man From U.N.C.L.E contains compositions by Fried and Drasnin, only.

Within the genre of Lounge / Spy Jazz, this is a fine record. The record is somewhat collectable and I am fortunate to get it at such a great price. But, if you keep diggin’ through crates, sooner or later you’re rewarded.

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