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The James Dean Story

Dean StoryIn 1957 a young Robert Altman (future director of Nashville, MASH, and The Player) co-directed a documentary about James Dean, with a soundtrack written by Leith Stevens (who also scored The Wild One, subject of a previous Night Lights program). The soundtrack was recorded by a group of West Coast jazz musicians led by trumpeter Chet Baker and alto saxophonist/flutist Bud Shank; we’ll hear selections from it, as well as dialogue clips from Altman’s film.

The website James Dean in Death offers all sorts of information about Dean’s final day (9/30/55); you can even take a virtual trip that parallels his movements that fateful morning and afternoon.

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Music Heard On This Episode

Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)
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Miss D.D.
Mary Lou Williams — Black Christ of the Andes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1964)

Notes: Opening theme.

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Let Me Be Loved (instrumental)
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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The Search
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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People
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Lost Love
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Rebel at Work
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Main Theme from East of Eden
Warner Brothers Studio Orchestra — A Tribute to James Dean (Columbia/Legacy, 1956)

Notes: Music-bed break

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Hollywood
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Fairmount, Indiana
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Success and Then What?
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Let Me Be Loved (vocal version)
Chet Baker/Bud Shank — The James Dean Story (Pacific Jazz, 1957)
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Night Lights
Gerry Mulligan — Night Lights (Phillips, 1963)

Notes: Closing theme.

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