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Zigzag/The Super Cops (1970/1974)
Music by Jerry Fielding, Oliver Nelson
Zigzag/The Super Cops Zigzag/The Super Cops Zigzag/The Super Cops
Click to enlarge images.
Price: $19.95
Limited #: 3000
View CD Page at SAE Store
Line: Silver Age
CD Release: January 2006
Catalog #: Vol. 9, No. 2
# of Discs: 2

Released by Special Arrangement With Turner Classic Movies Music.

FSM returns to the heart of the Silver Age of film music—the early 1970s—with this 2CD set of M-G-M scores by Oliver Nelson and Jerry Fielding.

Oliver Nelson (1932-1975) was best-known for his television music ( The Six Million Dollar Man) and superlative arrangements for other musicians (Alfie, Last Tango in Paris). One of the few African American composers to break through on mainstream Hollywood projects, he was a gifted musician beloved for his penchant for melody and pleasurable orchestrations.

Zigzag (1970), a mystery-thriller starring George Kennedy, was one of Nelson's few feature scores, for which he provided a pair of evocative themes and jazz-based undercurrents. Disc one of this album features the previously unreleased original soundtrack (with action cues anticipating The Six Million Dollar Man) plus the LP re-recording (featuring vocalists Roy Orbison and Bobby Hatfield).

Jerry Fielding (1922-1980) is best-known for his work for Sam Peckinpah, but scored dozens of projects in the 1970s, with a complex, intricate style that was perfect for the decade.

The Super Cops (1974), directed by Gordon Parks (Shaft), was based on a true story about a pair of low-level cops who took it upon themselves to clean up a dangerous area of New York City. Fielding provided an amusing, energetic kaleidoscope of moods and styles: anxious, comedic, reflective, and action-packed, with funky source cues and a cheeky, militaristic main title—it's Jerry Fielding meets Shaft.

To fill out the running times, this 2CD set adds a bevy of bonus cues: Disc two includes Fielding's three episode scores for the 1973 TV series Hawkins, interpolating Jerry Goldsmith's theme for the pilot (FSMCD Vol. 6, No. 13); plus unreleased Fielding source cues from The Outfit (1973, otherwise released as FSMCD Vol. 5, No. 8). Disc one adds jazz standard source cues from Zigzag and The Outfit recorded by legendary singer Anita O'Day. Liner notes are by Lukas Kendall. Both discs are in excellent stereo sound.

Jerry Fielding Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Jerry Fielding (1922-1980) was one of cinema's most distinctive voices in the 1960s and especially '70s, the perfect musical complement to the films of Sam Peckinpah, Michael Winner, Clint Eastwood and others. His scores are marked by modernism and intricate orchestrations but also a poetic beauty and intensity—an appropriate accompaniment to the decade's strange and often sad (but never sentimental) criminals and antiheroes, be they in westerns (The Wild Bunch) or crime films. He was, however, capable of numerous styles (he was a former Vegas bandleader), and wrote a great number of scores (from sticoms to dramas to sci-fi) for television. IMDB

Oliver Nelson Scores on FSM
About the Composer

Oliver Nelson (1932-1975) was an outstanding jazz saxophonist, composer and arranger not nearly as well known as he should be, owing in part to his early death from a heart attack. He was a phenomenal arranger especially revered for his work for strings; listen to his arrangements for Gato Barbieri on Last Tango in Paris. As a composer, he scored Zigzag and a considerable amount of television, most notably The Six Million Dollar ManIMDB

Comments (56):Log in or register to post your own comments
Count me as another champion of this fine release.

This FSM double disc could be wickedly nicknamed "The Bum Ticker Two-fer" seeing as both Oliver Nelson and Jerry Fielding suffered from heart problems. It's an absolute tragedy that both men died so young. Fielding was sorely needed in the 1980s with how synthetic that decade turned out. But I wonder how much work he could have scared up if he didn't continue working with Clint Eastwood. Of course we'll never know...In Oliver Nelson's case, it's an even greater tragedy. He, like Fielding worked in the Universal composer's "stable" and, as Thomas brilliantly put it in his Zigzag blog, Nelson's was both a sensitive and forceful sound. When I see what the subsequent decades in film scoring brought to the art, I mourn the deaths of Nelson and Fielding all the more. Still, would there have been the room for these two brilliant composers? In an age where greats like Bruce Broughton and David Shire toil in veritable obscurity, I doubt it.

As for the music...

Zigzag is a great, great introduction to the world of Oliver Nelson. Sure, we all want The Six Million Dollar Man, but Zigzag is all the more interesting for being an obscure George Kennedy movie. I love the "driving through the city" sound of many of the cues, and that main title is hummable as anything else from that time. Love it. The album presentation is equally fascinating, and a reminder of a time when the re-record was every bit as interesting in its own way. Don't ignore it!

Avant-gardist that I am, I could listen to Jerry Fielding's atmospheric suspense cues for hours on end and still remain fascinated with the man's very sound. The Hawkins scores are a wonderful (and obvious) companion to Maestro Goldsmith's take on the same show, but Fielding's music has flashes of his other scores from that period. I can hear traces of The Mechanic and Alfredo Garcia, especially the former with its low, rumbling piano.

The Super Cops is a funkier, but lighter precursor to Fielding's score for The Enforcer, and if they ever did Dirty Harry as an intentional comedy, then The Super Cops would be the score for it. There are enough serious and suspensful selections in Fielding's "lighter" effort that always keep it interesting. It's a score that's grown on me considerably.

It's also great to have the source from The Outfit, a movie that TCM (thankfully) aired one late night about three years ago. Fielding's score is fitting and conveys a more relaxed, rural setting, though it gets tense and edgy when it must.

Zigzag/Supercops is the greatest FSM release nobody ever bought. And that's a shame. But if there's ever a release for The Six Million Dollar Man, you can guarantee that Oliver Nelson will earn a career re-evaluation and some much-deserved recognition. In the meantime, I'll be grooving to Zigzag...

Oh yeah, love that Super Cops. Just doesn't get much more funky than that.

I play ZIGZAG quite often. I remember seeing the film on TV a long time ago when I was a kid and liking it very much. Since it's an MGM release, I keep hoping it will turn up on TCM.

I bought it for "The super cops" as that film has a special association for me.
I took "Zigzag" along but it wasn't the one that sold me on the CD. As said that was the work of the cops.
Now I find that I play "Zigzag" faaaaaaaaaaar more.
I really love that music. Talk about music to drive by. When I go for a drive with a recreational destination in the summer, I play that music on the car audiosystem. It's like the non action parts of "Bullit" or a few tunes of "Mannix" the car just floats down the tarmac.
Too bad there is more vocal stuff than instrumental. It's not bad but not my thing either. The singer's voice is off putting to me though. Not as bad as Billie Holliday (few of the older singers are) but not for longer periods either even less so if you realize what could have been there in instrumental stuff instead.

Anyway once again to those who still don't have this one: GET IT.
I can't beleive this one is not sold out yet.

Would love to see the film. Great music and George Kennedy in the main role; now that's my kind of film.


I play this cd a LOT. Mostly for ZIGZAG, as much as I like Fielding, I prefer this score.

ZigZag is so good. I never knew I'd be getting a Roy Orbison performance too, even if the song is lousy. "It's my mind you're blowing. Zigzag!"

I like the arrangements for the film more than the LP performances. One thing that makes a good composer is to know when to stop adding stuff, and I think something is lost with the album treatment in this regard. Still interesting listening, for sure.

As for The Super Cops... I've never been a Fielding fan and this score certainly didn't turn me into one.

Count me among the worshippers of this release. I just picked it up during the recent FSM/SAE sale, although it had been on my wish list for ages. Super duper groovy stuff.

As for The Super Cops... I've never been a Fielding fan and this score certainly didn't turn me into one.[/endquote]

I understand that. It took me awhile to embrace Fielding's movie work, though I always liked his television music. Now, I rank him near the top of my favorites. Go figure. I think Fielding--along with Leonard Rosenman--are two of the most challenging film composers ever, but I find their music so rewarding.

I'm amused , but not surprised, that a thread on this great two-disc set has fewer posts than this one: ;)

The thing I find a bit odd about THE SUPER COPS is that if Intrada had put this score out as one of its Fielding releases as a 'Special Collection' it would have been greeted by cries of "Awesome!"
"Another Holy Grail released!" and so forth. And it would have gone in a couple of days.


The thing I find a bit odd about THE SUPER COPS is that if Intrada had put this score out as one of its Fielding releases as a 'Special Collection' it would have been greeted by cries of "Awesome!"
"Another Holy Grail released!" and so forth. And it would have gone in a couple of days.


And the same applies to "The Getaway", another Peckinpah/Fielding title that is not sold out.
At Intrada, any Peckinpah/Fielding title would have gone in 24 hours.
Go figure?

PS: Intrada seems to have stopped their Fielding well, at least in the first semestre of 2009?

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Track List
Click on each musician name for more credits
For more specific musician lists for the scores on this album, go here:
The Super Cops

Leader (Conductor):
Oliver Nelson, Donald G. Peake, Jack Urbont

Harry Bluestone, Henry Arthur Brown, Peter Buonconsiglio, Mike Comins, Salvatore Crimi, David Davis, James Getzoff, Bernard Kundell, David Kunstler, Alfred Lustgarten, Joy Lyle (Sharp), Erno Neufeld, Lou Raderman, Sally Raderman (aka Sarah Kreindler), Ambrose Russo, Jack Shulman, Paul C. Shure, Heimann Weinstine, Avram Weiss, Walter S. Wiemeyer

Myer Bello, Dorothy Colton-Pratt, Joseph DiFiore, Cecil Figelski, Allan Harshman, Virginia Majewski, Gareth D. Nuttycombe

Maurice Bialkin, Maurice Brown, Justin DiTullio, Raphael "Ray" Kramer, Edgar Lustgarten, Frederick R. Seykora, Jeffrey G. Solow, Gloria Strassner

Raymond M. "Ray" Brown, Mario Camposano, Morty Corb, Wilton L. Felder, Abraham Luboff, Peter A. Mercurio, Charles Urbont

William E. Green, Plas Johnson, Andreas Kostelas, Ronald Langinger (aka Ronny Lang), Jack Nimitz, Sylvia Ruderman, Thomas W. Scott, C. E. "Bud" Shank, Ernest J. Watts

Albert Aarons, Robert O. "Bobby" Bryant, Conte Candoli, Marion "Buddy" Childers, David Gale, Paul T. Hubinon, Ralph Mazer, Bob McCoy, Bob Millikan

Bob Alexander, Louis Blackburn, James Cleveland, James L. Johnson, George M. Roberts

Artie Kane, Pearl Kaufman (Goldman), Joseph L. Sample

Dennis Budimir, William Pitman, William "Louie" Shelton

Hubert "Hugh" Anderson, John E. "Jack" Arnold, Larry Bunker, Frank L. Carlson, Don Cunningham, Victor Feldman, John P. Guerin, Paul N. Humphrey, Gene Pello

Harry Urbont

Orchestra Manager:
Benjamin Barrett, Gerald C. Whelan

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