Neal Hefti (October 29, 1922 – October 11, 2008) was an American jazz trumpeter, composer, tune writer, and arranger.
He was perhaps best known for composing the theme music for the Batman television series of the 1960s, and for scoring the 1968 film The Odd Couple and the subsequent TV series of the same name.
“We’d see Basie in town, and I was impressed by Harry Edison and Buck Clayton, being a trumpet player. And I would say I was impressed by Dizzy Gillespie when he was with Cab Calloway. I was impressed by those three trumpet players of the people I saw in person… I thought Harry Edison and Dizzy Gillespie were the most unique of the trumpet players I heard.” Neal Hefti
In 1950, Hefti started arranging for Count Basie and what became known as “The New Testament” band. According to Hefti in a Billboard interview, Basie wanted to develop a stage band that could appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. Although the New Testament band never became a show band in that sense, it was much more of an ensemble band than Basie’s previous orchestras. Hefti’s tight, well-crafted arrangements resulted in a new band identity that was maintained for more than twenty years.In his autobiography, Count Basie recalls their first meeting and the first compositions that Hefti provided the new band:
Neal came by, and we had a talk, and he said he’d just like to put something in the book. Then he came back with “Little Pony” and then “Sure Thing,” “Why Not?” and “Fawncy Meeting You,” and we ran them down, and that’s how we got married.” Count Basie
Hefti’s compositions and arrangements featured and recorded by the orchestra established the distinctive, tighter, modern sound of the later Basie. His work was popular with both the band and with audiences. Basie said, “There is something of his on each one of those first albums of that new band.”
Hefti Film scores:
1964: Sex and the Single Girl
1965: Boeing Boeing
1965: How to Murder Your Wife
1966: Lord Love a Duck
“A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous thing.”
Go to School
Get a little Knowledge
and Live Dangerously
Starring an excellent classic actor, Roddy Mcdowall with Tuesday Weld.
Music by Neal Hefti
Vocals by: The Wild Ones
1966: Duel at Diablo
1967: Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ So Sad
1967: Barefoot in the Park
1968: The Odd Couple
1968: P. J.
1976: Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood