I saw the headline link ” ‘Batman,’ ‘Odd Couple’ theme writer dies,” was unable to immediately match the themes to the composer name, but was able to recall with certainty that it was someone whose work outside of TV theme composition was vast and significant.
Vast and significant, indeed. R.I.P., Neal Hefti.
As wonderful and iconic and enduring as those particular series themes are, my soft spot for Neal Hefti is a result of his body of work as a composer and arranger in collaboration with the Count Basie Orchestra.
To this day, it’s a bit of a mystery to me as to how, as a kid in rural Maine, I came by a taste for Big Band jazz. The Count and crew became and have to this day remained my favorite from the genre. That I got to see Count Basie perform with orchestra about six months before he died continues to feel like the biggest, fattest, warmest of blessings.
Anyhow, this one–Atomic Basie, featuring Hefti arrangements–is all kinds of badass.
Such a wonderful album; years ago, I procured a quite-possibly original pressing copy of this LP, in terrific condition, and it became one of the most prized of my collection. Big thick heavy vinyl. I’ve since purchased the CD.
I’ve long thought that L’il Darlin’ was among the loveliest, most elegant pieces in CBO’s vast book. And though I display an instrument bias here, I still think that Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis’s tenor solo on Splanky by itself is worth the purchase price.
At any rate, a brief bow of the head feels due to a true musical craftsman whose work hit all the right notes with me.