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Johnny Mandel

John Alfred Mandel

Composer, Arranger, Trumpeter, Trombonist, Record Producer

(1925 - )

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Johnny Mandel is a trim man who appears many years younger than his chronological age and whose down-to-earth demeanor is in stark contrast to a resume bursting with accolades and awards. He received ASCAP’s Henry Mancini Award in 1997; he’s won four Grammies and an Academy Award and received many more nominations; and he’s worked with top lyricists such as Johnny Mercer, Dave Frishberg, Paul Williams, and Paul Francis Webster.

Mandel grew up in New York and as a youngster was fascinated with the sound of instruments blending in a band. He learned to play trumpet and trombone and wrote his first big band arrangement at 12. After high school graduation he joined Joe Venuti’s orchestra and spent the next ten years touring, playing with and arranging for numerous bands such as Boyd Raeburn, Artie Shaw, Buddy Rich, Jimmy Dorsey, and Count Basie. He wrote a classic arrangement of “Not Really the Blues” for Woody Herman’s band. He also became a “bebopper,” studied symphonic composition, and worked as an arranger in radio and television.

In 1954 he settled in Los Angeles, where he arranged Frank Sinatra’s first Reprise Records release, Chet Baker’s recording with strings, Jo Stafford’s Jo + Jazz, and Anita O’Day’s classic Travelin’ Light. He arranged Mirrors for Peggy Lee and wrote the song “The Shining Sea” with her for the 1966 film The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming. He also wrote for nightclub acts and for Andy Williams’ TV variety show.

In 1958 Mandel composed the jazz score for the film I Want to Live! which led to a succession of memorable film scores. The first song that he wrote for a film was “Emily” for The Americanization of Emily (1964), and he chose Johnny Mercer to write the lyrics. The following year he and Paul Francis Webster won both an Oscar and a Grammy for “The Shadow of Your Smile” from The Sandpiper. He scored numerous films throughout the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s: Harper (1966); An American Dream (1966), which featured “A Time for Love”; Agatha (1978) with its theme song “Close Enough for Love”; Being There (1979); and Deathtrap (1982). He also wrote the theme for the TV series M*A*S*H.

He arranged Natalie Cole’s 1992 Unforgettable CD which won seven Grammies, arranged and produced Shirley Horn’s Here’s to Life for which he won a Grammy in 1993, and arranged Diana Krall’s 1999 When I Look in Your Eyes which won the Jazz Album of the Year Award. He served as the music consultant for the 1994 documentary A Great Day in Harlem, arranged Tony Bennett’s 2004 CD The Art of Romance, and currently serves on ASCAP’s Board of Directors.

- Sandra Burlingame

Quietly There: Zoot Sims Plays Johnny Mandel

Zoot Sims

I Never Told You: Fred Hersch Plays Johnny Mandel

Fred Hersch

The Shadow of Your Smile

Astrud Gilberto

Close Enough for Love

Shirley Horn

Here's to Life

Shirley Horn

When I Look In Your Eyes

Diana Krall
Reading and Viewing

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Johnny Mandel

The Johnny Mandel Songbook : Piano Vocal Guitar

Hal Leonard Corporation

Johnny Mandel Songbook

Alfred Publishing Company

Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent, Theodore Bikel, Wesley Lau

I Want to Live!

MGM (Video & DVD)


Julie Andrews/James Garner

The Americanization of Emily (1964)


M*A*S*H (Season One - Collector's Edition)

20th Century Fox


Carl Reiner, Eva Marie Saint, Alan Arkin, Brian Keith, Jonathan Winters

The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming

MGM (Video & DVD)


Paul Newman, Lauren Bacall, Janet Leigh


Warner Home Video


Peters Sellers, Shirley MacLaine, Melvyn Douglas, Richard A. Dysart, Jack Warden

Being There

Warner Home Video


Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Cannon, Irene Worth, Henry Jones


Warner Home Video


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