Grooves & Samples #31: Stelvio Cipriani – Mary’s Theme (1969)
Grooves & Samples is a weekly dive into old dusty crates of jazz, funk, soul and beyond.
A fantastic source of grooves and sample fodder has been the world of Italian film scores. Composers like Ennio Morricone and Piero Umiliani are the most well known among crate diggers and sample junkies, and have had a large impact on the sound of hip hop. Slightly lesser known is the work of Stelvio Cipriani, a prolific Roman pianist and arranger throughout the 60s, 70s, and even up to today.
Our feature today is from one of Cipriani’s earlier works, the soundtrack to the X-rated S&M thriller Femina Ridens or in english, The Frightened Woman. The film is full of surreal and twisted sexual exploits backed really dope jazz and funk fusion composed by the man Stelvio. Check out the trailer for a glimpse of this odd piece of Italian cinema.
I love records with weird background, and this is certainly such a record! The original LP is extremely rare and will likely set you back hundreds of dollars if you ever found it, however it has been reissued on vinyl by the wonderful French label Vadim Music. One of the stand out tracks on the soundtrack is “Mary’s Theme”, a slow grooving harp number with a certain softness that lulls you into a false sense of security. Maria, played by actress Dagmar Lassander is not quite so innocent and homely as her theme might lead you to believe. Also, check out the sampled beat below by German beatmaker JuSoul.