Listen -John Barry – A Man Alone (Jazz Version) – MP3
I hope all is well with you this fine Friday (or Thursday late depending what position you hold on the globe).
The tune I bring you today is something groovy with a dash of international intrigue.
A variation on the theme from the ‘Ipcress File’ (a different arrangement of the same number appears on the other side of the 45) ‘A Man Alone (Jazz Version)’ is one of my favorite John Barry selections. Barry, who has been featured here before (in his pre-soundtrack era) composed and performed the soundtracks to countless films and television shows from the early 60s on.
‘The Ipcress File’ was the very first ‘Harry Palmer’ film for the mighty Michael Caine and was adapted from the novel of the same name by Len Deighton. The 1965 espionage thriller is a primed example of a swinging 60s take on the ongoing cold war, and Caine is – as always – the very epitome of dry, limey cool.
‘A Man Alone (Jazz Version)’ swings along aggressively with a beatnik edged hi-hat and bongo pulse, before the main theme is stated by the unofficial spy theme instrument of record, the cymbalum (or some variation on the cymbalum/santoor dulcimer-esque hammered thingy), which carried in its tinny strings the very essence of mysterious international intrigue, with the fezzes, lugers, dark Eurasian back alleys and trench coats.
Barry does change things up a little (the “jazz version” one would assume) with a decidedly English-sounding horn chart, featuring a just-this-side-of-incongruous alto sax (maybe doubling a muted trumpet?) solo.
Sit back, close your eyes and visualize Caine speeding down a dark, rain-slicked street chasing (or being chased by) nemeses from behind the Iron Curtain.
I haven’t seen the movie in a few years, and I can’t remember if this piece actually appears in the film. If you know (this means you Bill…), drop me a line.
In other news, this coming Monday will mark the third annual Funky16Corners Pledge Drive, in which yours truly comes to you in search of donations to keep the blogs (and the server space where all of the sound files and both podcast archives reside) up and running for another year. I’ll make sure I go into further depth on Monday, along with Paypal links.
Have a great weekend and I’ll see you soon.