Mancini, Henry – “Party, The” – [RCA Victor/ BMG]
I first saw this movie while frying on mushroom tea so it holds a VERY special place in my heart. Having the opportunity to review the album is a gift which I take very seriously. Brief movie storyline: Peter Sellars (in brownface, or orange depending on the scene) is an Indian actor trying to break into the Hollywood movie scene. Attending the ultimate groovy Hollywood party at the Most tripped out pad (sunken conversation pit, glass walls, sections of the living room that move up and down, the best swimming pool), Sellars literally destroys the place. The bathroom scene seemed endless, but that was when I was peaking so…. There’s a parrot (birdie num num), a painted elephant, go go dancing frug-a-delic, and Claudine Longet (before she shot her ski champion boyfriend but after she left Andy Williams. Longet was a fixture of sorts of the A&M label, Herb Alpert’s project. Anyway…)
The music, composed by Henry Mancini, is a master class example of what the, then god, of film composition did. Swerving from glorious cheesy bachelor pad orchestrations (you can almost hear the martini glasses tinkling), to straight up no nonsense senior masters of jazz compositions (with the help of greats like Jimmie Rowles, Shelly Manne, Jack Sheldon among others), this thing is so smooth and the example of perfection. “Elegant” starts out with Mancini’s superb piano solo which moves into the rich orchestra work (think Breakfast at Tiffany’s), then Larry Bunker’s vibes and back to solo piano. There are some choice group vocal pieces which have the singers la la laaaing along. “Party Poop” pops in with the vocalists suddenly singing “Jimmie Rose, Jimmie Rose, Jimmie Rose”. So sixties. There is also sitar work and light psych dance tunes. (“The Party”, both vocal and instrumental are a must.) My only disappointment is that the Claudine Longet version of “Nothing to Lose” is not included. Those curious to hear her sing “nothing to wooose” will have to search. Enjoy this exceptional example of white 60’s grooviness.