Beat Square & Cool is not just a collection containing some of the greatest jazz film scores ever made, but it also tells the story of how jazz (mostly drawing from the bebop that was one of the defining American subcultural and artistic developments of the post-war era) became the soundtrack to films based around the emerging anti-establishment youth movements of the era.
Now gathered together here are 8 remastered film scores on 5 discs in an exclusively designed, deluxe box set . The box set includes a colourful 60-page booklet with extensive, in-depth sleeve notes, plus a foreword by Jazzwise magazine’s editor Jon Newey.
Beat, Square & Cool starts with the first significant teen rebel movie Leith Stevens’ score to biker exploitation flick The Wild One (featuring adaptations by west coast trumpeter Shorty Rogers) followed by another, Franz Waxman’s explosive symphonic jazz suite for Crime in the Streets. Hollywood began shooting their films in the new bohemia: the San Francisco-set The Subterraneans adapted from the book by Jack Kerouac, featured the cool bop of composer-pianist Andre Previn alongside various 1950’s west coast jazz stars. The Paris Left Bank was the setting for the lesser-known proto-mod French film Les Tricheurs, with a score by a Norman Granz JATP supergroup (including Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Oscar Peterson and Dizzy Gillespie), and also for Paris Blues, Duke Ellington’s second major film score. Beatnik Barbara Graham is the femme fatale in I Want to Live! with Johnny Mandel music starring baritone legend Gerry Mulligan. The set ends on the brink of the 1960s with the torchbearers for a new generation of independent new wave American filmmakers. The highly influential director John Cassavetes’ Shadows, has themes written originally for the movie by Charles Mingus, and Shirley Clarke’s The Connection features Freddie Redd’s classic Blue Note quartet featuring the great saxophonist Jackie McLean.
The Wild One – Leith Stevens
Crime in the Streets – Franz Waxman
I Want to Live! – Johnny Mandel
Les Tricheurs – Jazz At The Philharmonic
Paris Blues – Duke Ellington
The Subterraneans – Andre Previn
Shadows – Charles Mingus
The Connection – Freddie Redd