Capitalizing on the recent CBS network television mini-series about the life of one of America's enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe, Playboy Jazz has released the soundtrack "Blonde." This is Playboy's initial foray into the jazz-producing world. And like the magazine that was launched in 1953, it embodies, celebrates and uses Marilyn to get their point across.
The production and marketing are calculated. Soundtracks generally sell well. Jazz got a good boost by the Ken Burns' series. "Blonde" features some well-known jazz musicians. And Marilyn Monroe remains vastly appealing. It should do well.
Patrick Williams, a well traveled composer of 150 scores of television and feature films, wrote and arranged most of the music. His music hearkens back to the time of Marilyn. Playboy Jazz calls it quite appropriately "sensual jazz-noir." In other words, it's seduction music. It is routinely ravishing, soft, bouncy and swaying. Very Playboy-like. As the magazine is easy on the eyes, the music is easy on the ears. The aural version of the 'come-hither' and look. The pieces, "Party Time" and "Firelight," epitomize what Playboy is trying to accomplish rich with suggestion. Even Strayhorn's "Chelsea Bridge" is filled with stray glances and unmitigated longing.
Williams' orchestra performs well and is distinguished by a series of all-too-brief guest cameos. Snooky Young's trumpet solo on "The Blues for Norma Jean," and Roy Hargrove's unforgettable trumpet work on "Theme from Blonde" are both simply beautiful. Furthermore, James Moody's saucy saxophone sets the right mood for "Me and My Baby."
The soundtrack remains true to the times of Marilyn. Grey-flanneled suits and seven-year itches. Bachelor pads and silk pajamas. High heels and mink stoles. Red lipstick stains on white shirt collars.
Playboy succeeds in its intent to score a soundtrack for your own seduction moves. And to that extent, seduction never goes out of style.