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Space Age Music Maker

Frank Comstock


  • Born 20 September 1922, San Diego, California
  • Died 21 May 2013, Huntington Beach, California

Best known among exotica fans for Project Comstock: Music from Outer Space, one of the all-time great space music albums, Frank Comstock followed the path of many other arranger/composers of his generation, starting with big bands and ending up in the Hollywood studio system. He was hired by Benny Carter in 1941, but first began to attract notice for his smooth but swinging arrangements when he joined Les Brown in 1942. Comstock's work deserves much of the credit for the balance between commercial and critical success that Brown was able to strike through much of the 1940s.

He settled in Los Angeles after leaving Brown's band, and wrote and conducted background music for Bob Hope's perennial Christmas shows. He also worked with Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Margaret Whiting, and, in the late 1950s, the pioneering jazz vocal group, the Hi-Los. He also worked extensively in radio and television, composing the theme to "McHale's Navy" and leading the studio orchestra on Jimmie Rodger's variety show in the late 1960s, to name but a few gigs.

On Project Comstock, he blended originals like "Journey to Infinity" with space-associated tunes like "Out of This World" and "Stella by Starlight." He used such space-age musical instruments as the theremin, the electric violin (played by Elliott Fisher), and the novachord.


Recordings

  • The Helen Morgan Story (soundtrack), RCA Victor LOC-1030
  • The D.A.'s Man, Warner Brothers WBS-1290
  • Project Comstock: Music from Outer Space, Warner Brothers WB-1483 (1962)
  • A Young Man's Fancy--Exciting New Sounds of Frank Comstock, Columbia CL-1021
  • Patterns, Columbia CS-8003
  • Last of the Secret Agents (soundtrack), Dot DLP-25714


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