Ted Atking and His Orchestra: The Man From Nowhere
From Pop Music For Dancing (Concert Hall, 1970)
The Alyn Ainsworth Orchestra: Cast Your Fate to the Wind
From Big City Soul (Pye, 1975)
Rogier Van Otterloo: My Dearest Fluffie
From On the Move (Polydor, 1976)
Jacques Loussier: Ballet Photo Rogue
From You Only Love Once Soundtrack (London, 1968)
As noted in an earlier post, I realized that I had a long set of songs I’ve been meaning to post about but haven’t gotten to yet. This first batch are all ’60s/’70s funk-influenced jazz tunes, movie scores and other instrumentals that wouldn’t be out of place on a library record. All are also European in origin; not exactly a coincidence given that you can find a whole range of funky jazz tunes emerging across Europe in this era and though some examples – Peter Herbolzheimer’s lauded Rhythm Combination and Brass comes to mind – were directly under the sway of fusion jazz’s emergence, most of these are actually more like funk-influenced big band tunes (namely the Atking and Ainsworth tunes).
Speaking of Atking…he didn’t really exist; the name was a pseudonym though there are differing stories on who the Atking nom de plume was supposed to stand in for. One source claims the original composer was from the UK’s Jack Arel (of Chapell Library fame). Another pairs the name with French composer Pierre Dutour (given that Concert Hall was a French label, I’m inclined to nod towards Dutour). Regardless, “The Man From Nowhere” definitely has a “library record” feel – moody, well-arranged, with layers of sound stacked, most prominently the melancholy guitar at center plus the rich string section that accompanies.
In contrast, the Ainsworth song (I presume he was a real person) is more contemporary in sound, largely thanks to the electric piano at the front end though, like Atking, the string accompaniment gives the song a more expansive feel. Ainsworth was British and at least in this phase in his career, had recorded a series of theme-ploitation albums (i.e. instrumental covers of t.v., movie and chart-topping hits).
Rogier Von Otterloo comes to us from the Netherlands – a Dutch composer of some renown who recorded this funky big band album in the mid-70s for the powerhouse Polydor imprint. This is definitely the most “big band-y” of the bunch, largely due to that prominent brass section but the rhythm section is what makes this groove work with its dark, smoky cool.
Lastly, we return to France and composer Jacques Loussier with a song off of the soundtrack for the movie, You Only Live Once. I really dig the drunk-happy vibe “Ballet Photo Rogue” gives off…like it slips and trips around but never sloppily. The short breakbeat sections are also an unexpected surprise – love that crisp syncopation.