John Dankworth: Modesty Blaise + Return From the Ashes
From Movies N’ Me (RCA, 1974)

This is possibly the first LP I ever bought at the Groove Merchant (if not the first). Here’s what I had to say about this album when I first wrote about it back in 2000:

    “This whole LP is full of great breaks and melodies. One of which, “Return of the Ashes” has been sampled…I know by Rob Swift and I seem to think that it might have been on one of the Dusty Fingers comps? In fact, it almost sounds Axelrod-esque in its disonant, electronic vibe. Either way, this LP is stoopid nice – if it’s not funk bumpin’, it’s got some nice, easy listening fare on it too. The choice cuts begin with “Modesty Blaise” which kicks off with some swinging horn blares but after a short bridge, the open two-bar drum break drops, accented by some horn choruses that sound downright blazing. Trust me, the song is incredible sounding.”

Please note, I rarely use the phrase “stoopid nice” these days nor am really that focused on “two-bar drum break drops.” My rather painful use of descriptive phrases aside, it’s still a great album for those who like funky scores and soundtrack songs. I used to be a bigger fan of the big, brash sound of “Modesty Blaise” but I now find “Return From the Ashes” more enticing, perhaps b/c I’m into more laid-back grooves in my old(er) age. Good stuff, either way.