Citizens, The Bat Swings! collects themes from the classic Batman series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. There are gems within the show’s incidental music composed by Nelson Riddle. The Batman theme by Neal Hefti is a fitting big band vehicle. Riddle and Hefti had been integral to big band jazz in the 1960s. Riddle worked with Ella Fitzgerald and countless times with Frank Sinatra. Hefti composed the music for Count Basie’s The Atomic Mr. Basie.
“Batmobile to Airport,” arranged by Michael Philip Mossman, captures the cool/geek syzygy of the series. Mark Taylor captures ‘60s flair with modern sensibility in his arrangement on track three. “Batman Blues,” arranged by Harry Allen, is an essential track–even crime-fighting heroes get the blues.
Spider-Man makes an appearance with his classic theme that epitomizes the swing of ’60s superheroes. Harry Allen’s programmatic take on “Kitka” leads us through Batman’s infatuation and disdain for his feline femme fatale. “Holy-Hole-in-the-Doughnut,” from the ’66 Batman TV soundtrack is a sensual bossa nova.
“Murciélago En La Cueva” is arranged and conceived by Mossman, featuring various cues from the Batman series. He adds an Afro-Cuban flair, while evoking fight scenes and dramatic moments, culminating in Hefti’s “Batman Theme.”
“Amazing Grace”–the Flying Horse Big Band recently featured jazz luminary Ira Sullivan as a guest artist. Ira is known for associations with Charlie Parker and Art Blakey and ends all of his shows with this hymn. While Batman is seemingly invincible, I can’t help but think he’s received some amazing grace.