The promise of a reissued 1960s Ennio Morricone movie score will send some casual fans reaching for their ponchos and cowboy hats. But I Due Evasi Di Sing Sing is not a spaghetti western—it’s a comedy about two sloppy thieves directed by Lucio Fulci, a legendary Italian cult filmmaker who would go on to make some crazy/brilliant horror and fantasy movies. Released in 1964, the same year as A Fistful of Dollars—Morricone’s first movie with director Sergio Leone, which kicked off a collaborative relationship that defined both artists’s careers—I Due Evasi Di Sing Sing is a set of dapper big band and jazz compositions—more skinny ties than cowboy boots—showcasing a totally different side of the composer’s craftsmanship.
While the soundtrack never lets you forget that it’s there to do a cinematic job—out of context, the mischievous sounds of “Le Sedie Elettriche,” for example, are almost unbearably cutesy—there are still moments of extreme standalone coolness. Take the cocktail lounge jazz of “Il Boss E Le Pupe” and “Incontro Dei Boss,” featuring the smooth sounds of brass instruments, jazz drumming, and what appears to be a vibraphone. There’s also “Ballerine,” an impressive piece of silent-movie-style solo piano play, and the midnight noir, ivory tinklin’ of “All Night Club.”
Morricone’s soundtrack to I Due Evasi Di Sing Sing was originally available as an extremely rare promo-only library release under various different titles. This new reissue has been assembled by Lorenzo Fabrizi, the head of Sonor Music Editions, with Claudio Fuiano and Daniel Winkler, both said to be “significant connoisseurs” of Morricone. The team recovered the master tapes, making it possible to piece together the original soundtrack sequence while adding two bonus tracks from the sessions to boot. Thanks to their efforts, this fine work from a critical period of Morricone’s unimpeachable canon is now clear and present.