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Bullitt (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture)

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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

Customer Reviews


One of the truly great soundtracks of the "60s". Shifting Gears accompanied the first and still very best automobile chases of all time. Jazz sequences typical of the era.

Great Record - But there's a caveat;

.. these aren't the original recordings. Still worth every penny, though. The songs and arrangements are brilliant and the production still feels like a classic session from the 60s. Just wish I had the option to buy the original recordings.

An absolute knockout! For $8? What are you waiting for!

Revisiting the movie, the score completely blew me away. '60s Crime music at its very finest. Cost would be no object - I had to get ahold of this soundtrack! This is a better overall listening package than the Dirty Harry soundtrack, with more upbeat tracks with distinct themes. It starts with an irresistable salvo of moody, groovy cuts: the Main Title, Shifting Gears and Ice Pick Mike. San Mateo and Hotel Daniels maintain the energy. The Architect's Building could hold its own on any Jazz album from this extremely fruitful era. Music To Interrogate By is shamelessly corny, worth having just for a laugh. The cool alternate versions and mood pieces make it more than worth springing for the whole album. For $8, you absolutely can't go wrong! I've heard reports that the so-called movie versions are not, in fact, what you hear on the movie. The "Record" versions are good but very different, much slicker. The "Movie" versions on this collection are much gritter and, if not 100% authentic, are close enough for me.


Born: June 21, 1932 in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Best known for his "Mission: Impossible" theme song, Lalo Schifrin is an Argentinean-born composer, arranger, pianist, and conductor, whose jazz and classical training earned him tremendous success as a soundtrack composer. Born Boris Claudio Schifrin in Buenos Aires on June 21, 1932, his father was a symphonic violinist, and he began playing piano at age six. He enrolled in the Paris Conservatoire in 1952, hitting the jazz scene by night. After returning to Buenos Aires, Schifrin formed a 16-piece...
Full Bio

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