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Reviewers: Don Mather, Marc Bridle, Ian Lace, Peter Woolf, Gerald Fenech

The Best of Hugo Montenegro

Camden Deluxe LC00316
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Come Spy with Me.  Secret Agent Man  Theme from "I Spy"  Thunderball
Theme from The Man FromU.N.C.L.E.  The James Bond Theme  The Silencers
"Get Smart" Theme  Theme from "The FBI"  The Man from THRUSH  Theme from "The Spy who came in from the Cold".  Goldfinger  Our Man Flint  Illya
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly  Hang 'em High  For a Few Dollars More Theme from "A Fistful of Dollars"  Theme for Three  The Godfather Waltz

Hugo Montenegro was born in New York in 1925, he studied at Manhattan College of Music. During two years in the US Navy, he wrote arrangements for Military Bands and it was during this period that he came to the notice of Andre Kostelanetz. Kostelanetz, a Russian émigré, had become a firm favourite in the US for Light and Light Classical music. On leaving the Navy, Montrnegro went to work for him as a composer/arranger. At the age of 25, he had been noticed by many of the Stars associated with Kostelanetz and he was offered the position of Musical Director to Harry Belafonte at the height of the singer's fame.

In the 1960's Montenegro moved to the West Coast and became a leading figure in TV and Cinema composing and arranging. The remainder of his working life was to be spent in this way, but he also made many Albums for the popular music market.

In many ways he helped to set the tone for the next generation of composers of film music. He was not afraid to use unconventional instrumentation and voicing and was always in search of a "new sound"

This album contains some excellent examples of his work, compare his version of The James Bond Theme with Monty Norman's original, both are fine examples of the arrangers' craft, but quite different. Similar comparisons can be drawn with The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Goldfinger and Thunderball.  

Hugo Montenegro died in 1981 aged 55. In many ways it is sad that quality light music of the type he produced has almost disappeared from Radio and TV. The album reminds me of better musical times and I enjoyed listening to the work of an arranger who was undoubtedly a master of his craft, played by the excellent musicians the West Coast studios employed.


Don Mather

Don Mather is a Bandleader and Saxophone player based in Coventry, UK


Don Mather

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