Long before he composed the music for Jaws, the Star Wars series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and dozens of other major motion pictures, John Towner Williams was Johnny Williams, jazz pianist. He began writing for films and television in the early 1950s and in much of his earlier work, the jazz influence was still strong. Shelly Manne worked with Williams on Hollywood sound stages and was taken with his music for the TV series Checkmate. Manne adapted seven of Williams's themes from the show for his band, Shelly Manne & His Men. Because Williams was tuned in to trends in jazz, some of the pieces reflected modal approaches recently taken by forward thinkers like Miles Davis and John Coltrane. "The King Swings," as an example, is nearly identical in form to Coltrane's "Impressions." Accordingly, Manne and his quintet, one of the best small groups of the 1960s, plumb Williams's unusual television music for all of its considerable improvisational possibilities.
with Conte Candoli, Richie Kamuca, Russ Freeman, Chuck Berghofer