Ennio Morricone’s cinematic jazz gem Il Bandito Dagli Occhi Azzurri aka The Blue-Eyed Bandit is out now on CD, LP, and digital platforms. His soundtrack to Alfredo Giannetti’s 1980 film offers a very rare insight into the jazz side of the legendary composer. The Blue-Eyed Bandit has been remastered from the original master tapes in the CAM Sugar archives, the most extensive and representative catalogue of Italian original soundtracks.
Morricone’s score matches the thrilling atmosphere of the film
Morricone’s score, in unusual 5/4 time, is marked by a relentless rhythm that matches the thrilling atmosphere of the film. The movie, set in the city of Genoa, tells the story of a bank robbery whose mastermind and main character, the blue-eyed bandit, is Franco Nero – one of the leading stars of the Italian detective ‘poliziottesco’ and spaghetti western genres.
Ennio Morricone’s main theme for The Blue-Eye Bandit, ‘Città Viva’, is a vibrant jazz piece arranged for a big band that featured a trio of soloists chosen by the composer – pianist Enrico Pieranunzi, drummer Roberto Gatto, double bass player Riccardo Del Fra. The trio had just finished working with jazz legend Chet Baker and other American musicians whose bop influence can be heard on these tracks.
The album includes liner notes by Italian ‘poliziottesco’ star Franco Nero and Ennio Morricone’s pianist Enrico Pieranunzi. In his liner notes for the reissue Enrico Pieranunzi recalls, “It was only when I approached the piano and saw the sheet music on the stand that I began to understand. The pieces were mainly in 5/4 – the tempo made famous by the acclaimed ‘Take Five’ by Paul Desmond and Dave Brubeck – and their harmonies were jazzy.”
In his score for The Blue-Eye Bandit Ennio Morricone partially goes back to his experimental past with the Gruppo Improvvisazione Nuova Consonanza and is one of the rare times that he asked his musicians to improvise freely. In the soundtrack jazz themes and orchestral pieces are balanced with more delicate and intimate tracks featuring the viola of acclaimed soloist Dino Asciolla.
The Blue-Eye Bandit is the third instalment of the Morricone Segreto series which previously featured the mondo movie classic I Malamondo and the acclaimed compilation Morricone Segreto.
Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone
Oscar-winning Italian composer Ennio Morricone (10 November 1928 – 6 July 2020) composed over 500 scores for cinema and television and became famous for scoring the spaghetti westerns directed by Sergio Leone including The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and A Fistful of Dollars. In 2016 Morricone won an Oscar for his score to Quentin Tarantino’s film The Hateful Eight and in 2007 he received an honorary Oscar (presented by Clint Eastwood) for his “magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.” He is one of only two film composers in history to have received the honorary Academy Award for his lifetime achievement.
Ennio Morricone’s The Blue-Eyed Bandit can be bought here.