Each month I contribute a segment to the Cocktail Nation radio show out of Australia, where I introduce a classic film or TV series and play tunes from the soundtrack. This month's episode features Mr. Broadway (1964), a witty, urbane series about a Manhattan public-relations man and trouble shooter played by Craig Stevens (Peter Gunn, Invisible Man). In addition to a Mid-Century Modern set design, which included nods to Eames and Franz Klein, the producers tapped one of the era's hippest jazz composers to do the score- Dave Brubeck! As some long-term readers might know, Brubeck looms large in my world, both as musical accompaniment through life and also on personal levels between our families. Dave was also at the nexus of many major crossroads during the 50s and 60s. His quartet was sent by the state department as jazz ambassadors behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, where it was hoped that the freedom and democracy evident in the musical form would win ideological allies (paintings by American abstract expressionists toured around in similar arrangements). Brubeck's life also intersected with the Case Study House program promoting modern architecture, and the quartet released albums themed around the bourgeoning Space Race and new interest in Japanese culture culminating in the Tokyo Olympics. And for pop culture fans, Brubeck appeared with Patrick McGoohan (Danger Man, The Prisoner) and Johnny Dankworth (Avengers composer) in a jazz-themed adaptation of Othello called All Night Long. For Mr. Broadway, Brubeck's aim as composer was to capture the sophistication of New York and to provide numbers to accompany various emotional tones in the show, all the while making sure that the work would also function as authentic Dave Brubeck Quartet music. Most of the tracks were released on Jazz Impressions of New York, with "Toki's Theme" appearing on Jazz Impressions of Japan. I'll talk more about Brubeck and Mr. Broadway in my upcoming Spy Vibe book. In the meantime, have a listen to some cuts from the show here on Cocktail Nation. Below, my arty edit of Craig Stevens posed in Mr. Broadway's swanky NYC digs.
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