The jazz world lost one of its most famous composers and arrangers last Saturday, October 11th, as Neal Hefti passed away in his home in Los Angeles at the age of 85.
While Hefti’s biggest “hit” might have been the composition of the theme song for the television show Batman, for which he won a Grammy award in 1966, Hefti built his reputation with wonderful compositions and arrangements for big bands.
In addition to being a fine trumpet player, Hefti built his reputation arranging and composing for Woody Herman. Hefti’s most memorable big band compositions were recorded by Count Basie’s band between 1950 and 1962, and included works like Lil’ Darlin’, Cute, Whirly-Bird, and Little Pony.
Neal Hefti spent a month composing the Batman theme song, which became an overnight success, landing in the Top 40 and winning him a Grammy for Best Instrumental Theme. He also composed music for The Odd Couple, Barefoot in the Park, and Harlow.
Click here to hear Count Basie’s band play Neal Hefti’s Whirly-Bird.
Click here to hear Count Basie’s band play Neal Hefti’s Lil’ Darlin’.
Click here to hear the Batman theme song written by Neal Hefti.