Sam Paglia B-Movie Heroes

You can add Sam Paglia to the ranks of faux soundtrack composers, although both his inspirations and his parodies are broader than most. Wistful Nino Rota scores, Italian crime jazz and blaxploitation funk get the treatment from Paglia, who casts himself as an over-the-top parody of a greasy lowlife bit-part in some two-bit producer's idea of a gritty, streetwise crime drama. It's a cartoon landscape of pimps, petty hoods and loan sharks, and it's just a little too bad that the packaging of the CD plays up this cartoonishness, because it distracts from the fact that Paglia knows what he's doing and has learned well from the likes of Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Smith and Rota. Funky Clavinets, rollicking Wurlitzers, sultry Fender Rhodes and big, fat, woolly Hammond B-3s - Paglia expertly tweaks all the A-list organs for their nuance and atmospherics. Paglia is funkier and has a defter touch than he seems willing to let on. Whatever the silliness he perpetrates on the outside, inside the package are some serious grooves. (Irma la Douce)