FSM revives the "Retrograde Records" label for its first new release since 1998: A Man Called Adam, a classic jazz album as well as movie soundtrack.
A Man Called Adam (1966) was an independent production starring Sammy Davis Jr. as a troubled jazz trumpet player, costarring Cicely Tyson, Ossie Davis and ratpacker Peter Lawford. Louis Armstrong and Mel Torme appear in the film and on the soundtrack album -- as does the famously versatile Davis.
Adam was notable for its prominence of African Americans both in front of and behind the camera (it was produced by Ike Jones, an associate of Nat "King" Cole). The film's composer was Benny Carter (1907-2003), who may be little-known to soundtrack collectors, but was a hugely respected jazz artist as well as a pioneering figure for African Americans -- in fact, the first black composer to receive screen credit for an original score for television (on M Squad). Carter worked on numerous classic musicals of the 1940s and '50s and became, on A Man Called Adam, one of only a small number of African Americans to score a motion picture.
The musical requirements of A Man Called Adam called almost entirely for jazz source music, particularly that for the lead character's band (the reason we are issuing it on our Retrograde label). Carter composed and arranged a variety of small band numbers, taking care to achieve not only musical excellence but story appropriateness in reflecting the on-screen performers. ("Night Walk," track 10, is the only score cue on the CD.) The studio musicians include Nat Adderley (who "ghosted" Davis's trumpet performances), Bill Berry, Kai Winding, Tyree Glenn, Junior Mance, Billy Kyle, Buster Bailey, Danny Barcelona and Jo Jones. Original lyrics are by Al Stillman.
Unavailable since the Reprise Records LP in 1966, A Man Called Adam is a jazz classic soundtrack with historical significance, and has been remixed here from the three and four-track master tapes for excellent stereo sound. Liner notes are by Jon Burlingame, documenting the film, Carter's importance, and the various selections.