Sex and the Single Girl/Hefti

November 13, 2007

 

sex_and_single_girl_1964.gifSo different are the scores that FSM coupled together in their new release (FSM Vol. 10 No. 13) that they have to be treated as separate reviews. The topic of sex in both Sex and the Single Girl and The Chapman Report is of course the link that couples the soundtracks together but its more like nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Yup, there both spices but you likely wouldn’t sprinkle the pepper on your hot drink nor would you add the nutmeg to your favorite mexican dish! One is light, carefree, and happy while the other is serious and dissonant.

Neal has been a trumpet player, orchestrator, arranger, and composer from the big band era starting with Woody Herman and then graduating to Count Basie as well as having his own bands off and on along the way. Well known for the jazz standard Li’l Darlin as well as scores from Batman and The Odd Couple, Hefti has certainly made his mark on the music world. This 1964 film starring Tony Curtis and Natalie Wood was loosely adapted from the best selling Helen Gurley Brown book and marked Hefti’s debut into the world of writing soundtracks. Richard Quine, the director, also provided the lyrics to the title song “Sex and the Single Girl”, and ended up marrying the vocalist Fran Jefferies a fixture as a nightclub singer in Las Vegas for many years.

The soundtrack has to be classified as an easy listening one with some jazz and big band influence. “City Style”, gives quite obvious references to his classic yet to be written The Odd Couple, with a really cool riff from the flute and bass trombone and then continuing with a flute solo and harpsichord. This track is truly classic Hefti all the way. “I’ve Got Love” features the talents of flautist Buddy Collette and the harpsichord, a favorite instrument that Neal used often. This track is one that could easily be taken off with for a long jazz number. “Blues for Frank” is exactly what the title indicates featuring reeds and harpsichord. “Sex and the Single Girl” is a nice quite catchy theme featured on three of the 10 tracks, twice as an instrumental and once as a vocal. The lyrics are the style of the day and the light comedy words fit the film perfectly. Jefferies has the perfect sultry voice for this type of composition as well as singing a takeoff using a modern arrangement of the Jolson “Anniversary Song” for another track. There is nothing deep or thought provoking in any of this material. The minor key was certainly not in Hefti’s vocabulary for this score.

Hefti along with May, Riddle, Mancini, Duning, early Johnny Williams and many others incorporated this light jazzy style in to the in type of Hollywood films of the day. The style of Hefti for his yet to be composed Barefoot in the Park, and Odd Couple, were being formed and they are clearly evident in this soundtrack. While there are numerous choices of his material on the LP format his choices on CD are few and far between leaving this new release an excellent starting point to introduce yourself to Neal’s style. Still being involved in the world of LP’s allow this reviewer to have quite a modest selection of Hefti material and it was a lot of fun for me to be able to hear many references to newer yet to be written tracks from this his first film assignment for Hollywood. Definitely worth a listen. Recommended.

Golden Scores Rating is (***1/2)

Produced by Lukas Kendall

CD# is FSM Vol.10 #13

Track listing1. Legs (02:42)

2. The Game (02:20)

3. Sex And The Single Girl (02:52)

vocal: Fran Jeffries

4. Midnight Swim (02:25)

5. City Style (02:19)

6. Anniversary Song (03:00)

vocal: Fran Jeffries

7. I’ve Got Love (02:41)

8. Blues For Frank (02:45)

9. I Must Know (02:59)

10. Sex And The Single Girl (02:56)

tracks 1~10 from “Sex And The Single Girl” (total time 27:25)

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