RELEASE
1968
LABEL
WEA International
GENRES
Soundtrack, Original Score, Piano Jazz, Soundtracks, Jazz Instrument

Album Review

After establishing himself in the television world with the classic Mission: Impossible theme, Lalo Schifrin soon made himself equally famous in the world of film music with his work on the soundtrack of the Steve MacQueen cop thriller Bullitt. This classic soundtrack found Schifrin combining the skills he honed as an arranger for jazzmen like Count Basie with the gift he developed for writing tight, punchy themes on television soundtracks like The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Mission: Impossible. The end result is an exciting score that deftly blends traditional orchestral film-scoring techniques with the rhythms and swings of classic jazz. This combination is perfectly presented on "Bullitt (Main Title)," a jazz-pop instrumental that starts with an angular, staccato bassline and quickly layers on jazz guitar and controlled bursts of brass to create a tune that swings and thrills all at once. Other gems in this vein include "Shifting Gears," which adds and subtracts layers of dissonant strings and brass over an insistent, percolating groove from the rhythm section, and "Ice Pick Mike," a chase theme that builds from piano and percussion to a full-blown jazz instrumental complete with a wild horn section. Elsewhere, Schifrin effectively slows down the rhythms to craft lush instrumentals that manage to create a lighter, more pensive mood without losing their jazz edge: "The Aftermath of Love" layers gentle trumpet and flute lines over string-sweetened rhythms and "The First Snowfall" is a bright, horn-driven piece that applies the album's swinging brass section to a poppy melody. Everything on the album is visually evocative the way good soundtrack music should be, yet the individual cuts are tight and melodic enough to hold up to repeated listens. The end result is a soundtrack that succeeds both as a film score and a stand-alone album. This unique combination makes Bullitt one of the finest achievements in the Lalo Schifrin catalog and one of the best action film scores ever written. [Collector's Note: This score was re-recorded with extra cues for Aleph Records, but this review applies only to the original soundtrack album on Warner Bros. Records.]
Donald A. Guarisco, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Bullitt (Main Title)
  2. Room "26"
  3. Hotel Daniels
  4. The Aftermath of Love
  5. Music to Interrogate By
  6. On the Way to San Mateo
  7. Ice Pick Mike
  8. A Song for Cathy
  9. Shifting Gears
  10. Cantata for Combo
  11. The First Snowfall
  12. Bullitt (End Title)