The Pink Panther [Spiegel Edition]

by: Henry Mancini

The Pink Panther is another fine, early-'60s soundtrack from Henry Mancini. The title track became one of his most recognizable themes, and kicks off a pleasant program of dreamy lounge cuts and Latin-tinged numbers. As he did on many other movie and TV albums (Touch of Evil, Peter Gunn, etc.), Mancini also includes some noir-ish, big-band numbers, like "The Tiber Twist" and the main title. Along with these up-tempo songs, he balances out the mostly light material with the solidly swinging mambos "The Village Inn," "Something for Sellars" (as in Peter Sellars, the movies' star), and "It Had Better Be Tonight" (co-written by frequent partner Johnny Mercer, and something of a minor vocal hit upon its release). The program's highlights, though, come from the kind of sublime (some might say cheesy) ballads he usually included on his soundtracks; the after-hours jazz tune "Royal Blue" stands out in particular, with its tasteful string arrangement and glowing trumpet solo. This is a great title for fans of Mancini's lounge/soundtrack material, but those more into his jazz material should consider either his Peter Gunn or Combo! soundtracks. [The Spiegel vinyl reissue includes four bonus tracks.] ~ Stephen Cook

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