Lennie Niehaus

Leonard Niehaus, born June 11, 1929, died May 28, 2020. He was an American alto-saxophonist, arranger and composer in the West Coast jazz scene. He played with Stan Kenton’s big band, Ray Vasquez Trombonist u0026 Vocalist, PhilCarreon Orchestra, as well as other West Coast jazz bands. Niehaus has also arranged and composed motion pictures, many of which were produced by Clint Eastwood. Niehaus was born in St. Louis Missouri, USA. His sister was a concert pianist and his father, Pere, was an expert violinist. At seven years old, his father taught him violin. Then Lennie learned to play bassoon. Niehaus started playing clarinet and alto saxophone at the age of thirteen. This was also when he began to compose. After graduating from Roosevelt High School in 1946, Niehaus began studying music at Los Angeles City College. He later earned a music education degree from Los Angeles State College, earning it in 1951. Niehaus began his professional career by arranging and playing alto Saxophone in Phil Carreon’s Orchestra in the Los Angeles region. The band also included Teddy Edwards, Herb Geller and Trombonist Ray Vasquez. Niehaus toured with the Stan Kenton Orchestra for six months, but was drafted in the army in 1952. He was discharged in 1954 and rejoined Kenton five years later. [2] He was a prolific writer for Kenton and enjoyed the longest and longest recorded tenure of any alto player with the group, which included notable names such as Charlie Mariano and Lee Konitz. In 1959, he left the Kenton Orchestra to study music composition in the studios. He orchestrated music for Mel Torme and Dean Martin as well as Carol Burnett. He began orchestrating films for Jerry Fielding in 1962. Niehaus was a collaborator with Fielding on about seventy television shows and films, including Straw Dogs and Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia. This film was made by Sam Peckinpah. Lennie was a prominent film composer since Fielding’s passing. He always orchestrates his own scores. Lennie does not forget his jazz roots when composing for films. City Heat, the story of which is the 1984 movie, was filmed in the 1930s. Lennie wrote jazz from that period using altoist Marshal Royal. Lester was played by Bill Perkins. He was accompanied by a jazz violinist who sound like Stephane Grappelli. There was then a boogie-woogie sequence featuring three pianists, Mike Land, Pete Jolly and Clint Eastwood. Niehaus was in a most important relationship with Clint Eastwood. They shared a love for jazz and knew each other for many years. Niehaus had orchestrated scores for Eastwood films like Tightrope (1984), which was also produced and directed by Eastwood. Niehaus’ first film score was written for Eastwood’s 11th direction, 1985’s Pale Rider. Niehaus wrote the musical scores of the 12 films that followed Blood Work in 2002. He also orchestrated the music for six other features Eastwood provided, from Mystic river to 2008’s Gran Torino. Niehaus was awarded the BMI Film Award

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