Director Otto Preminger’s classic 1959 courtroom drama—starring James Stewart, Lee Remick, and Ben Gazzara—was controversial at the time for addressing sex and rape. Anatomy of a Murder features a jazz score by Duke Ellington, who also appears briefly in the film. Composed by Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, the music is performed by an orchestra that includes Johnny Hodges (alto sax), Paul Gonsalves (tenor sax), and Ray Nance (violin). Although the music is used rather sparingly in the film, the Grammy-winning soundtrack is now considered among Ellington’s finest works.
“Rarely has such sumptuous jazz been married to a film soundtrack. The burnished glow of Ellington’s score is undeniably erotic—indeed, the powerfully charged, slow burn of the second track, Flirtibird, is among Ellington’s most sensual recordings.” —JAZZIZ magazine