This was a real labor of love. When we decided to do a series of albums of music from Quinn Martin productions, The Streets of San Francisco was high on my priority list. I knew and loved Pat Williams, a dear friend and brilliant composer who won several Emmys for his TV music. And that Streets theme, with its distinctive clavinet and roaring big-band sound, just screams “1970s cop show” to me and millions of others. I decided to devote the entire 2-CD set to Pat’s pilot and nine episode scores (and it was a bear to track all of those tapes down!), but there was room enough at the end to include his fun pilot score for the short-lived QM spy show A Man Called Sloane.
Nine of the entries in this 2019 collection of pieces about film and TV composers are mine. They were all written in the 2010-2011 period for the distinguished Grove Music Dictionary people when I had more time on my hands. They included John Barry, Bruce Broughton, Jerry Fielding, James Newton Howard, David Newman, Lionel Newman, Mike Post, Laurence Rosenthal and Patrick Williams. While it’s nice to have articles in a Grove Music Guide, it would have been nice if the editors had contacted me about revisions and modifications to the texts (no one did), not to mention consulting me about some of the other entries (the one on Jerry Goldsmith is misleading and the Alfred Newman entry contains errors).
Together with The Film Music Society and La-La Land Records, I have launched a new series of albums of classic TV music we are calling The Quinn Martin Collection. Martin was one of TV’s top producers in the 1960s and ’70s, and he enjoyed considerable success in the law-and-order arena. Volume 1 is subtitled “Cop and Detective Series” and features the pilot scores for Barnaby Jones (1973-80, by Jerry Goldsmith), Most Wanted (1976-77, by Lalo Schifrin), Dan August (1970-71, Dave Grusin) and Cannon (1971-76, John Parker). Rounding out the two-disc set are additional scores by Bruce Broughton, Grusin and Parker (for Barnaby Jones, Dan August and Cannon, respectively) and themes from other ’70s QM series including The Manhunter (Duane Tatro), Caribe (Nelson Riddle), Bert D’Angelo / Superstar (Patrick Williams) and Tales of the Unexpected (David Shire). In the colorfully illustrated 16-page booklet, I discuss all of the series and the circumstances of these top composers working in series television.
The Hollywood community was stunned last week by the death of Grammy- and Emmy-winning composer Patrick Williams. Not only among the most talented composer-arrangers of his generation, “Pat” Williams was one of the nicest guys in the business, one of the all-time great big-band leaders and a strong supporter of music education — a rare combination. I was lucky to get to know him over the past 30 years and it’s been hard to say goodbye. I wrote a fact-filled obituary for Variety and a slightly different version for the AFM’s Overture, but I also wrote an appreciation of the man and his music that I think conveys a bit more of who he was and why we all loved him.
Patrick Williams is one of our finest composers: Oscar nominee, winner of multiple Grammy and Emmy Awards, and veteran big-band leader and arranger (whose Threshold and American Concerto are genuine classics in the field). So it was a special pleasure to visit his Capitol Studios sessions and then pen the notes for his new album, Home Suite Home, now out on the BFM Jazz label. He brought in great soloists (Dave Grusin, Tom Scott, Arturo Sandoval, Peter Erskine, Dan Higgins, etc.) and singers (Patti Austin, Frank Sinatra Jr., Tierney Sutton) and the album is a real treat for jazz fans.
This was a genuine labor of love. The U.S. Postal Service was about to issue a Mancini stamp, and there was to be a big ceremony downtown. So the Times asked me for a retrospective piece, yet one that would quote friends, family and give a sense of his impact on popular culture. This is one of my all-time favorite pieces for the L.A. Times.