Lennie Niehaus, who went from Stan Kenton sideman to Clint Eastwood’s movie composer all through a nearly 60-yr occupation in new music, died Thursday at his daughter’s home in Redlands, Calif. He was 90.
Niehaus’s two dozen movies for Eastwood involve unique scores for the best photograph-profitable Western “Unforgiven,” the Charlie Parker biopic “Bird” and the well-known passionate drama “The Bridges of Madison County.”
The two achieved in 1953 at California’s Fort Ord, when the two ended up in the Army all through the Korean Conflict. “I used to play jazz work opportunities at a single of the beer clubs on the base, and Clint was tending bar,” Niehaus wrote in an essay about the actor-director for his 1996 American Movie Institute Existence Achievement Award. “I used to go off publish and play in a minor jazz club in nearby Santa Cruz on Sunday afternoons, and he would be there.”
Niehaus’ Army services interrupted a prolonged stint participating in alto saxophone, and afterwards arranging, for renowned bandleader Stan Kenton. He joined the Kenton band in 1951 and then rejoined it in 1954. Starting in 1958, he wrote arrangements for this sort of Kenton LPs as “The Stage Doorway Swings,” “Sophisticated Approach” and “Adventures in Standards.” He at the time estimated that he wrote one hundred arrangements for Kenton’s dance band.
He also recorded six albums with his individual combo, showcasing a much more modern day jazz model, for the Up to date and EmArcy labels in the 1950s. The New York Periods at the time referred to Niehaus’s individual new music as “linear and at situations fleetingly dissonant, literate and swinging.”
In the late 1950s, he achieved composer and bandleader Jerry Fielding and started producing orchestrations for him — to begin with for singers in Las Vegas, the place Fielding experienced been exiled all through the Hollywood blacklist time period, then afterwards for Television sequence which include “Hogan’s Heroes” and “McMillan and Wife.”
Niehaus orchestrated this sort of nineteen seventies Fielding scores as “Lawman,” “Straw Puppies,” “The Mechanic” and “The Gambler,” together with four from the time period when Fielding was regularly composing for Eastwood: “The Outlaw Josey Wales,” “The Enforcer,” “The Gauntlet” and “Escape From Alcatraz.”
A handful of a long time following Fielding’s 1980 demise, Niehaus started doing the job for Eastwood as composer himself, initial on 1984’s “Tightrope” with its New Orleans setting, then on the Western “Pale Rider” and the armed service drama “Heartbreak Ridge.”
For Eastwood’s 1988 movie about jazz large Charlie Parker, “Bird,” Niehaus took Parker’s unique solos and built freshly recorded backing tracks all over them. He also taught star Forest Whitaker the fundamental principles of saxophone overall performance.
He wrote an atonal rating for 1997’s “Absolute Power” and Aaron Copland-model Americana for 2000’s “Space Cowboys.”
As the piano-participating in Eastwood’s confidence in his individual new music grew, he started producing themes that Niehaus integrated into his movies — “Claudia’s Theme” in the 1992 “Unforgiven” and “Doe Eyes” for the 1995 “Bridges of Madison County” amid them. By 2003, Eastwood was composing entire scores (notably for “Mystic River” and “Million Greenback Baby”) but having Niehaus orchestrate and carry out them. That apply continued through 2008’s “Gran Torino.”
Niehaus scored many tv assignments, which include Eastwood’s “Vanessa in the Garden” for Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” six installments of Shelley Duvall’s “Faerie Tale Theatre” the two-element 1996 miniseries “Titanic” and the “Lonesome Dove” prequel “Comanche Moon.” He gained a 1994 Emmy for the Showtime jazz movie “Lush Life” and attained a 2008 Emmy nomination for a single of his last assignments, “Mitch Albom’s For A single More Working day.”
Niehaus was born in 1929 in St. Louis, Mo., the son of a Russian-born violinist who performed in silent-movie residences. He started producing big-band arrangements in high university. He attended Los Angeles Metropolis Higher education and Los Angeles Condition Higher education, majoring in composition (even though participating in jazz in an off-campus band).
Survivors involve his spouse Patricia, daughter Susan, son-in-regulation Owen, and grandchildren Josh and Emily.