Johnny MandelView in iTunes
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Considered one of the top living composers during the 1990's, Johnny Mandel is one of the few writers around who is capable of writing standards that can be recorded and performed by a wide variety of jazz musicians and singer. Mandel starting writing arrangements when he was 13 but he made his living during the 1940's as a trombonist and trumpeter, generally playing in sections of big bands. He picked up experience playing trumpet with Joe Venuti (1943) and Billie Rogers, switching to trombone for stints with Boyd Raeburn, Jimmy Dorsey, Buddy Rich, Georgie Auld, Alvino Rey and most notably Woody Herman's Second Herd (1948) where his "Not Really The Blues" was one of several pieces that entered the book. He also worked with Chubby Jackson, Elliot Lawrence and Count Basie (1953), but by the early 1950's Mandel's writing skills were in greater demand than his trombone playing. He contributed arrangements for Artie Shaw's short-lived bop band (1949) and for Basie (1952-56). Settling in Los Angeles in 1953, Mandel (who played bass trumpet for a brief time with Zoot Sims before ending his active playing) since then has made a living writing for films including occasional scores that are jazz-oriented, most notably 1958's I Want To Live and 1965's The Sandpiper (which resulted in "The Shadow Of Your Smile"). In addition to his movie work, Mandel has written arrangements for a countless number of performers including Frank Sinatra and Shirley Horn. Other famous Mandel songs include "Emily" (from "The Americanization Of Emily"), "Close Enough For Love," "Hershey Bar" (recorded by Stan Getz), "Suicide Is Painless" (the "Theme from Mash") and "A Time For Love." ~ Scott Yanow