Film Score Monthly
His "Mission: Impossible" TV show theme may be more immediately recognizable and well known, but Lalo Schifrin's score for Bullitt ('68) remains the most satisfyingly "Schifrin-esque" in his ouevre, and as such essential to every soundtrack collection.
Schirfrin first explored the crime jazz sound a few years earlier on the sexy French thriller Les Felins (aka Joy House), starring Alain Delon and Jane Fonda in their youthful prime.
Bullitt melds funk and swing. The hard and lean main theme rumbles forth on a muscular agile bass line and insistent beat with jazz guitar in the lead. On tracks that are by turns action-packed ("Hotel Daniels"), propulsive ("On the Road to San Mateo"), hard-driving ("Ice Pick Mike") and prowling ("Shifting Gears"), Schifrin works his orchestral jazz groove. It's as revved up and polished as the muscle cars used in the film's legendary chase scene (go Ford Mustang).
As expected, Film Score Monthly's well annotated and illustrated edition of Bullitt includes both the original album recording (that has influenced so many soul jazz and groove musicians) and the versions heard in the film, which have never appeared on CD before.
[Previously published at www.ScoreBaby.com]