We so enjoyed the opening-night concert of “Jazz Themes from Hollywood: West Coast Jazz at the Movies,” a four-day festival sponsored by the LA Jazz Institute now going on in a big subterranean ballroom at the LAX Marriott hotel.
With its moody musical backdrop, the film was a groundbreaking propagator of a new Hollywood genre: the rebellious teenage drama. The sound of the film, like its look, was all-California.
It worked well.
Trumpeter Carl Saunders led the band through “Blues for Brando,” “Wild One First Juke Box,” and Rogers’ other themes from the movie. It was all top-notch in its serious intent and its delivery.
“I played for him [Shorty Rogers] at parties,” explained Saunders, an able bandleader who himself delivered scorching staccato horn licks.
“He was a great writer, the kind who could [scribble music] in the back of a car.”
“Kind of hip,” Saunders summed it up.
Brando himself pushed for the Rogers orchestrations, according to Saunders.
More Rogers movie-music themes came from “Dementia: Daughter of Horror.”