April is Jazz Appreciation Month, so in honor of that today's TV Tuesday column is about the most famous "jazzy" TV theme songs I am familiar with.
Of course, we have to re-address the "what IS jazz?" question again. Is the trumpet-heavy drum-beat led Theme From The Man from UNCLE jazz? Over the course of four years they re-arranged it four times. Surely one of these is jazz? I think the first year version is especially "jazzy." The tune was composed by Jerry Goldsmith. (Skip the first one minute if you don't want to see a failed invasion of UNCLE headquarters!)
I am a huge fan of "Classic TV" but most of the older shows that I am familiar with do not have jazzy theme songs. There are several that definitely are jazz, like the Count Basie recorded "The M Squad" (1957-60) starring Lee Marvin that I have never seen or even heard of before I started working on this article. When I talked to my brother-in-law he mentioned the show "Route 66" starring Martin Milner (later on "Adam 12") and George Maharis. I have heard this song, so I'm including it here, but I have never seen this show. Sorry, Greg!
No, this is my long introduction to the show I consider the most "jazzy" and well-known, "Barney Miller" by Jack Elliot. I really liked the show when it first came on, but after Fish (Abe Vigoda) and Charo (Gregory Sierra) left and Jack Soo died, I gradually stopped watching it.
In researching this piece, I found that Jack Elliot also wrote the theme song to "Night Court." So I've included that, here, too.