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Neal Hefti

Neal HeftiNeal Hefti was a trumpeter. So why am I writing about him in my guitar blog? Because he composed a number of classic jazz pieces which have been interpreted by many jazz guitarists.

First, some background on Neal Hefti. In addition to playing trumpet he had been a band leader, a composer and an arranger for big bands, most notably for the Count Basie band. He composed and arranged for others including Frank Sinatra. The work he is probably most known for is the score for the movie (and television series) The Odd Couple and for the TV Theme for Batman.

The Neal Hefti jazz standards I am most fond of are Lil’ Darlin’ and Girl Talk. The lyrics to Girl Talk aren’t surprising for the 1960s but sound embarrassingly sexist now. Neal didn’t write the lyrics. Those were by Bobby Troup 1.

Lil’ Darlin – Joe Pass

Although I can’t find any other well know jazz guitarists performing Lil’ Darlin on youtube, there are many good guitarists who give it a try. I own recordings of the following guitarists performing Lil’ Darlin’:

  • Barney Kessel
  • Chuck Wayne
  • Joe Pass
  • George Benson
  • Russel Malone
  • Dave Costa

I’m sure there are more.

I can find no “famous” jazz guitarists performing Girl Talk on youtube, but again you may search and find many guitarists who have uploaded their rendition of the song. I also have fewer recordings of Girl Talk. However, you should see if you can find the following recordings of Girl Talk:

  • Pat Matrino with Jack McDuff from the album “Bringin’ it Home”.
  • Phil Upchurch from the album “Tell the Truth”.
  • Mark Whitfield from the album “True Blue”.

Bringin' It Home

Tell The Truth!


  1. Bobby Troup is probably most known as the composer of Route 66 which has been covered by jazz, blues and rock musicians.

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