Reviews of Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III

Audiophile Audition | Nov 22, 2019

Mark Doyle – Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III - Free Will

(Mark Doyle – producer, guitar, keyboards, bass, drum programming, arranger, conductor; Josh Dekaney – drums, percussion; Ally Brown, Shelby Dems, Jonathan Hwang, Joe Davili – violins; Kate LaVerne – cello)

Guitarist Mark Doyle has a multi-tiered and varied career, from being part of an early ‘70s hard rock band to session work for Hall & Oates, Judy Collins, Leo Sayer and others; and from lead guitarist for Meat Loaf to doing string arrangements for numerous groups such as New Kids on the Block and the Cavedogs. Along the way Doyle has issued three instrumental albums in his long-running Guitar Noir series: 1999’s Guitar Noir, 2011’s In Dreams: Guitar Noir II and this year his third installment, the 39-minute Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III.

Like previous Noir projects, Doyle primarily focuses on popular, semi-popular or little-known tunes which generally fit the concept—there are a few exceptions—and does most of the playing. On Watching The Detectives Doyle handles production duties and plays guitar, keyboards, bass, does drum programming, and arranges and conducts a small strings ensemble (four violins and one cello). Drummer and percussionist Josh Dekaney, a part-time Syracuse music professor, rounds out the credits. The music ranges from rock to jazz, so either faction of fandom will find something enticing. Doyle commences with the five-minute “Detectives Medley” which combines sections of Elvis Costello’s 1977 reggae-tinted single “Watching the Detectives” with the “Get Smart” TV show theme and Nelson Riddle’s unforgettable “The Untouchables” TV show theme. Throughout, Doyle adds tough and lean guitar lines while the violins and cello provide appropriate coloring. For his rendition of the opening theme song for the “Kojak” cop program, Doyle jettisons the horns and slightly funky structure and emphasizes guitar and smoother strings; Doyle’s stinging lead guitar gives the “Kojak’ tune a contemporary flair. Doyle’s interpretation of the Jerry Goldsmith theme for the TV spy program, “Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” is top-notch, highlighted by Dekaney’s prominent drums and a denser arrangement which stresses organ, rock guitar and electric bass.

Doyle also does some obscurities which puts the listener into unexpected musical locales. These days, many folks may not remember or know the 1959-1960 private detective series “Johnny Staccato” with a young John Cassavetes. The iconic Elmer Bernstein composed the soundtrack. Doyle turns the arrangement around, whooshing from the apt staccato string arrangement to blistering guitar and includes a heavier drum timbre. The violins and cello are more pronounced during Dave Grusin’s “It Takes a Thief,” from Robert Wagner’s 1968-1970 action-adventure TV series. Here, Doyle balances melancholy guitar/strings with unforeseen stabs into harder rocking areas, echoing Grusin’s mix of orchestral and jazz touches.

Doyle integrates two likeminded originals. There’s an apropos noir-ish quality to the fiery “Thirteen Crimes,” which could effortlessly be adapted to a modern noir movie. Even better is the dark-hued jazz selection, “Noir Alley,” where Doyle mingles acoustic bass chords, horn-like guitar lines and eerie, Theremin-like keyboard sounds to create an imaginative outing.

Not all of Doyle’s picks snugly fit his noir concept. One example is a blues-drenched take of Andre Previn’s 1961 “Lost Letter,” from Previn’s 1961 LP, Thinking of You. Previn’s original was a jazzy, piano-based composition; whereas Doyle’s moody translation goes into rock-blues fusion territory, where the strings juxtapose with the electric guitar. Frank Zappa enthusiasts might go directly to Doyle’s reworking of “America Drinks and Goes Home,” from the 1967 Mothers of Invention album Absolutely Free. Zappa’s original lounge lizard irony has long since expired; now it’s a classic, late-night jazz excursion where Doyle showcases his jazz guitar influences with clean, slightly reverbed lines while Dekaney accentuates his brushes and cymbals. Wonderful use of strings as well. Rounding out the record is a beautiful instrumental arrangement of Louis Cole’s 2018 slow-dance number, “Everytime.” Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III is easily one of the more enjoyable themed projects of the past year which equally merges jazz, rock, television and soundtrack components.

Detective Medley: Watching the Detectives,
Get Smart,
The Untouchables
Kojak Theme
Man from U.N.C.L.E.
Lost Letter
Johnny Staccato
America Drinks and Goes Home
Thirteen Crimes
Noir Alley
It Takes a Thief
—Doug Simpson

The Citizen staff | Oct 30, 2019

Mark Doyle – Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III – Free Will"

Renowned Auburn guitarist Mark Doyle will celebrate the completion of his third "Guitar Noir" album with a concert Saturday, Nov. 2, at Auburn Public Theater.
The album, "Watching the Detectives: Guitar Noir III," comes 20 years after the release of the original "Guitar Noir." It features detective and spy themes from the '50s, '60s and '70s, as well as originals. The album was released May 17.
"Once I settled on the concept, I started hunting down any and all of the TV and movie themes having to do with detectives and spies, while trying to avoid obvious ones like ‘Peter Gunn,’ which has been done to death, and ‘Perry Mason,’ which I had already recorded on the first 'Guitar Noir' album," Doyle said in a news release. "I ended up choosing the themes that were most melodic and dramatic, since melody is to me the most important thing in an instrumental album.”
Doyle's first "Guitar Noir" performance in more than four years will see his 10-piece ensemble performing the new album in its entirety as well as a second set of fan favorites from his other releases.
The ensemble will include Terry Quill on guitar, Bill DiCosimo on keyboards, Edgar Pagan on bass, Josh Dekaney on drums and percussion, and a string section with Ally Brown, Edgar Tumajyan and Joe Davoli on violins, Jess Tumajyan on viola and violin, and Kate LaVerne on cello.

Jazz Weekly | Sept 19, 2019

Mark Doyle: Watching the Detectives

Subtitled Guitar Noir III, this album has Mark Doyle on guitars, drums, bass and drum programming in order to create moods that conjure up images of Gloria Graham, Edmund O’Brien and Bogie. Long dark shadows echo on the ”Detectives Medley” that even includes sounds from the TV Show “Get Smart.” A 60s Farfisa adds shark skin suit moods to “Man From UNCLE” and a hip take of “Kojak” shows who really loves, ya, baby. Doyle’s guitar work is reminiscent of Johnny Smith on the clean take of “America Drinks and Goes Home” with a fuzzy blues tone on the shuffling “Johnny Staccato” A handful of originals keep the sepia toned mood, with a closing and reflective “Everytime” playing out to the closing credits. Stay tuned next week! —George W. Harris

Take Effect | Oct 8, 2019

Mark Doyle Watching The Detectives Guitar Noir III

If you’ve been following Mark Doyle’s esteemed career, you might recall that Guitar Noir was originally released 20 years ago. This time around, Doyle revisits the concept with emphasis on detective and spy theme songs, as well as a couple tunes outside the theme that were too good to not include.

“Detectives Medley” starts the listen with interpretations of “Watching The Detectives” (Costello), “Get Smart” (Szathmary), and “The Untouchables” (Riddle), as dynamic interplay between the rhythm section and Doyle’s meticulous guitar work add mystery and much intrigue to the affair.

Further along, “Lost Letter” (Previn) recruits blues spirited guitar work in the emotive rocker, while “American Drinks And Goes Home”, one of the two songs that isn’t detective based, has Doyle reworking the Zappa tune with elegance and a soothing quality that approaches jazz.

Deeper cuts bring us the Doyle original “Noir Alley”, which is a hushed and cryptic tune with brushed percussion and a memorable bass line, and the string heavy “It Takes A Thief” (Grusin), where an orchestral angle flows alongside meticulous guitar work and aching cello. “Everytime” (Cole) ends the listen with grace and six string acrobatics from Doyle in a more calm but no less impactful setting.

Doyle’s resume is impressive, starting with Jukin’ Bone, who were signed to a major label when he was still a teenager, and he currently fronts Mark Doyle & The Maniacs. An artist who has done pretty much everything one can do in the business, this cinematic, instrumental cop-jazz might seem like a very niche idea, but will certainly be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates ‘60s soundtracks and guitar focused instrumental records.

Travels well with: Jeff Beck- There And Back; Bill Frisell- Big Sur

The Aquarian | Sept 4, 2019

Mike Greenbatt’s Rant ‘N’ Roll


In film noir, the good guy ain’t always good. Seedy run-down neighborhoods house petty criminals and cynical, down-on-their-luck, alcoholic cops whose work sucks the soul right out of them. In 1990, fascinated with all things noir, guitarist-arranger-producer Mark Doyle recorded Guitar Noir with the theme songs for Perry Mason, and other lawyer/cop/private dick shows. After a follow-up, welcome to Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III (Free Will Records) where he now includes secret agents and stretches his all-instrumental boundaries with Frank Zappa’s “America Drinks And Goes Home.” It’s a subdued affair, filled with wah-wah, minor-keys, and a few more surprises. Yeah, he does the Elvis Costello title tune, but he puts it in a medley with the theme songs to two TV shows (Get Smart and The Untouchables). Other TV themes include Kojak and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Most enticing of all is Dave Grusin’s theme to the forgotten It Takes A Thief show, broadcast for three seasons (1968-1970), and Leonard Bernstein’s theme for another show lost to the dustbin of time, Johnny Staccato, which ran for two seasons (1959-1960). This music will put you in the right frame-of-mind to solve a murder. —Mike Greenblatt

Musical Memoirs (blog) | Aug 1, 2019


Mark Doyle,guitars/keyboards/bass/drum programming/ composer/producer/arranger; Josh Dekaney,drums/percussion; STRING SECTION: Ally Brown, Shelby Dems, Jonathan Hwang & Joe Davoli, violins; Kate LaVerne, cello.

The meat of the matter is ‘rock’, spicy as a quality sausage and the bun is jazz-alicious. Mark Doyle has a way of wrapping his rock arrangements with jazz. If rock music is your passion, Mark Doyle’s guitar music will satisfy that ’rocker’ itch. The premise for Doyle’s album is to record television and motion picture themes that were used to embellish detective and spy scripts. On this project, he comfortably blends rock and jazz arrangements. Producer, arranger and guitarist, Mark Doyle explained:

“Once I settled on the concept, I started hunting down any and all of the TV and movie themes having to do with detectives and spies, while trying to avoid obvious ones like ‘Peter Gunn,’ which has been done to death and ‘Perry Mason’ which I had already recorded on the first Guitar Noir album in 1999. I ended up choosing the themes that were most melodic and dramatic, since melody is to me the most important thing in an instrumental album. I uncovered some absolutely amazing music!”

His interpretation of these soundtrack tunes (some familiar, others not-so-much) is creatively entertaining and surprisingly jazzy. For example, Elmer Bernstein’s composition, “Johnny Staccato” is really engaging. The drums of Josh Dekaney strongly set the groove and paint the music spy-slick and exciting. It sounds like a chase scene. The addition of Ally Brown, Shelby Dems, Jonathan Hwang and Joe Davoli on violins, with Kate LeVerne on cello, enhance this arrangement in surprising ways. Zappa’s tune, “America Drinks and Goes Home” is richly arranged as a sexy blues. Doyle’s guitar tells the story vividly, until strings sing and lift the arrangement, once again, in a most beautiful way. I played these songs twice before I could continue listening to the remaining four tunes on Doyle’s production.

Obviously, Mark Doyle is a multi-talented instrumentalist. The way he blends jazz and rock is quite unique and captivating. This album features Doyle’s multi-talents on guitars, keyboards, bass and drum programming. He has also composed a couple of tunes, including “Noir Alley” and “Thirteen Crimes.”

When he isn’t recording, he leads his own band; “Mark Doyle & the Maniacs.” They have released six albums and work consistently throughout the Northeast United States. He also tours as Music Director/guitarist and pianist for former October Project singer, Mary Fahl. –Dee Dee McNeil

Magnet | Jul 30, 2019

MAGNET Exclusive: Premiere Of Mark Doyle’s “Detectives Medley”

Guitarist Mark Doyle has done it again. That is, Mark Doyle has finished the third installment of his Guitar Noir series. Watching The Detectives highlights television and film intrigue courtesy of spies and private eyes from days gone by. Conceptually sound and tastefully performed, Doyle’s instrumental album (out August 6 via Free Will) dusts off vintage tunes like Nelson Riddle’s theme from The Untouchables and Elmer Berstein’s long-forgotten “Johnny Staccato” (composed for a short-lived 1959-1960 TV show starring John Cassavetes as a jazz pianist/private dick).

Doyle’s own list of accomplishments go back to the early ’70s when he was in an upstate New York rock band called Jukin’ Bone, followed by a stint playing some Bowie-esque glam jams with Philadelphia vocalist David Werner. While Guitar Noir III mostly sticks with the concept by embracing the “Kojak Theme,” “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and Dave Grusin’s “It Takes A Thief.” Doyle also contributes some original music as well new arrangements of Louis Cole’s “Everytime” and immortal Frank Zappa lounge parody,“America Drinks And Goes Home,” which Doyle performs in the style of—what else?—cocktail jazz.

And so for your entertainment, MAGNET is happy to present the opening track of Guitar Noir III. Doyle’s “Detectives Medley” showcases Elvis Costello’s “Watching The Detectives” before segueing into the Get Smart theme and concludes with “The Untouchables.” The opening guitar riff is modeled after Costello’s original noir performance, and it provides an apropos introduction to the album. Overall, Doyle and his crack band play these tunes to perfection, with tasteful string arrangements and some really clever adaptations. Check out “Detectives Medley” below.

—Mitch Myers

Keys and Chords | Jul 15, 2019

Mark Doyle: Watching The Detectives – Guitar Noir III

Twintig jaar na de release van het bejubelde album ‘Guitar Noir’ in 1999 keert gitarist/arrangeur en producer Mark Doyle terug naar dit concept. Hij werd grootgebracht door muzikale ouders, studeerde klassieke en jazzpiano, en was al op zijn tiende op lokale Tv en radio te horen en te zien. Nadat hij The Beatles op Tv zag, bekeerde hij zich echter tot de gitaar. Eerst maakte hij deel uit van een hard rockband, werkte daarna voor singer-songwriters, en was sessiegitarist voor Daryl Hall & John Oates, Judy Collins, Leo Sayer. Tijdens de jaren ’80 speelde hij bij Meat Loaf, maar in 1988 ging hij in Boston strijkersarrangementen verzorgen voor producer Maurice Starr. En in 2009 richtte hij zijn eigen band op, Mark Doyle and The Maniacs. Op 6 augustus aanstaande komt dit nieuwe instrumentale album uit, het derde in deze reeks, waarop Mark opnieuw het concept van detectives en spionnen verkent. Naast Tv en filmthema’s zoals ‘Get Smart’, ‘The Untouchables’, ‘Kojak Theme’, ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E.’, ‘Johnny Staccato’ en ‘It Takes A Thief’, staan er ook covers op zoals Elvis Costello’s ‘Watching the Detectives’, Frank Zappa’s ‘America Drinks and Goes Home’ (dat buiten het concept valt). Tevens zijn er twee originele composities aanwezig, ‘Noir Alley’ en ‘Thirteen Crimes’. Een album dat zeker zal in de smaak vallen bij gitaarliefhebbers. –Patrick Van de Wiele (3½)


Twenty years after the release of the acclaimed 1990’s Guitar Noir album, guitarist/arranger and producer Mark Doyle returns to this concept. He was raised by musical parents, studied classical and jazz piano, and by age 10 he appeared on local TV and radio. After watching The Beatles on TV, he turned to the guitar. Initially he was a member of a rockband, and session musician for Daryl Hall & John Oates, Judy Collins, Leo Sayer. In the eighties he performed with Meat Loaf, but in 1988 he went to Boston to join Maurice Starr as a string arranger. In 2009 he formed Mark Doyle and The Maniacs. August 6, the new instrumental album will be released, the third in this series, in which Mark dives into the world of detectives and spies. Alongside TV and film themes ‘Get Smart’, ‘The Untouchables’, ‘Kojak Theme’, ‘Man from U.N.C.L.E.’, ‘Johnny Staccato’ and ‘It Takes A Thief’, it includes covers like Elvis Costello’s ‘Watching the Detectives’, Frank Zappa’s ‘America Drinks and Goes Home’ (that does not really fit in with the concept). ‘Noir Alley’ and ‘Thirteen Crimes’ are two original compositions. This is an album that definitely will go down well with guitar aficionado’s.


Roots Music Report | Jul 13, 2019

Album Review of Watching the Detectives: Guitar Noir III
Mark Doyle


Guitar fans in the know have been hip to Upstate NY guitarist Mark Doyle, and specifically his rock-based Guitar Noir series of albums. Released in the summer of 2019 is Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III, the third installment of Mark’s acclaimed guitar-noir series. For this third Guitar Noir album, Mark mixes up a fine batch of cover songs and new originals and the results are sonically stunning. The 1960s and the early ‘70s was clearly a great time to be into movie and TV soundtrack music and Mark chooses a pair, including the themes from television shows “Get Smart” and “The Untouchables”, merged with an early track by Elvis Costello called “Watching The Detectives”, to start things off on the opening “Detectives Medley” track. Theme songs from “Kojak” and “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” rub shoulders with other familiar themes, all done with Mark’s guitar flair. Clocking in at 49 minutes the entire album is a timely reminder of some great music composed by icons such as Nelson Riddle, Elmer Bernstein, Dave Grusin, Andre Previn and even Frank Zappa. Mark keeps the spotlight on track with two originals also included here called “Noir Alley” and “Thirteen Crimes”. With Mark handling the guitars, keys, bass and drum programming, Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III also features performances by Josh Dekaney (drums, percussion) and a real string section that is featured throughout the ten track album. The guitar instrumental genre, especially with the accent on 1960’s soundtracks is still fertile ground for the composing guitarist world wide, and wrapped up in effective CD cover art, Mark Doyle’s Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III hits its target with a solid bullseye. –Robert Silverstein

Jazz and Blues Report | July, 2019

Mark Doyle Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III

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The JW Vibe | Jun 29, 2019

MARK DOYLE, Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III

Packed into an extraordinary, multi-decade career that includes everything from world tours with Meat Loaf to arranging strings for The Stylistics and New Kids on the Block, Mark Doyle has carved out an impressively diverse solo career that includes blues releases by his band Mark Doyle and the Maniacs.

The versatile guitarist/composer has found the perfect way to celebrate 20 years since the release of another critically acclaimed gem in his discography, Guitar Noir, by extending his series of paeans to the moody, mysterious and ultra-adventurous music of classic TV detective series. On Guitar Noir III, Doyle adds fresh, thrilling twists to themes composed by legendary forces like Jerry Goldsmith (“Man from U.N.C.L.E.”), Dave Grusin (“It Takes a Thief”), Andre Previn (“Lost Letter”) and Nelson Riddle (“The Untouchables”).

It’s testament to his own intuitive, imaginative composing skills that the original tracks “Noir Alley” and the fiery, percussive “Thirteen Crimes” stack up so well against the greats. Yet the most remarkable aspect is probably the fact that he found a way to create a set list that includes “Get Smart” and “Kojak” fitting comfortably alongside a Frank Zappa penned outlier “America Drinks and Goes Home,” arranged here as a thoughtfully strummed ballad. –Jonathan Widran

Michael Doherty's Music Log | Jun 29, 2019

Mark Doyle: “Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III” (2019) CD Review

In 1999, guitarist Mark Doyle released Guitar Noir, his first solo album. Then in 2011, he revisited the idea with In Dreams: Guitar Noir II, with all of the tracks dealing with dreams (and nightmares). These albums featured some original material, along with covers. Now Mark Doyle is again returning to the series with Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III, an instrumental album featuring interesting renditions of popular themes from television, as well as some original compositions. There are also a couple of covers of songs that are outside the detective theme, including Frank Zappa’s “America Drinks And Goes Home.” In addition to guitar, Mark Doyle plays keyboards and bass on this album. Joining him is Josh Dekaney on drums and percussion. There is also a string section made up of Ally Brown, Shelby Dems, Jonathan Hwang, Joe Davoli, and Kate LaVerne.

The CD begins with a medley titled “Detectives Medley.” An unusual way to kick off an album, right? The first song of this medley is Elvis Costello’s “Watching The Detectives,” a song originally released in 1977. This version has a cool, somewhat eerie pulse. It isn’t long before Mark Doyle segues into a tune from the 1960s, that great theme from the television series Get Smart. This version feels a bit heavy, but works well. Mark then goes back just a few more years for another television theme, Nelson Riddle’s theme to The Untouchables. Those three tunes make up the medley, but of course Mark Doyle is not finished with television themes, following the medley with “Kojak Theme,” taking us back into the 1970s. This rendition certainly retains a strong 1970s vibe, in the rhythm and so on, while the guitar work seems appropriate to that decade but not restrained by it. Then Mark Doyle gives us the theme from The Man From U.N.C.L.E., a fun choice, and a television theme that I always thought was cool. I like the percussion on this one, and there is plenty of guitar.

One of my favorite tracks is “Lost Letter,” written by Andre Previn, who died earlier this year. This is a moodier piece that features the string section. It has a bluesy groove, a cool vibe and some interesting and unusual percussion. That’s followed by Elmer Bernstein’s theme for Johnny Staccato. I love John Cassavetes, but somehow have never seen this show. Mark Doyle’s take on the theme combines rock and jazz. As I mentioned, there are two tracks that stray from the album’s theme. Apparently, these two were recorded before the theme had been chosen. The first of those tunes is Frank Zappa’s “America Drinks And Goes Home,” a seriously strange and delightful choice. Mark Doyle’s rendition has a mellow, kind of sweet vibe, feeling almost like a lullaby at first before taking on a late-night jazz feel. I am particularly fond of Doyle’s guitar work on this track. And in the second half of the track, the strings are prominent.

We then get into the album’s original compositions. The first, “Thirteen Crimes,” in some ways feels like a slightly twisted television theme, like to a show that didn’t make it beyond the pilot stage because its main character was too disturbed to appeal to a mainstream audience. Perhaps it is the detective himself who is committing these crimes, or is enjoying them in some fashion, not really wanting to catch the criminal. It also has a somewhat manufactured feel, an artificial vibe that actually adds to its weirdness, to its unsettling quality. That’s followed by the disc’s other original composition, “Noir Alley,” which has a cooler, sly style, and features a totally enjoyable bass line. This is another of my personal favorite tracks. The main character of this one is a guy you can’t help but like, perhaps even want to emulate. His style, his movement. Then there is a strange, haunting vibe to it nearly halfway in, because the case the guy is on is anything but straightforward. An element of the supernatural, perhaps? Or maybe it just seems that way for a bit, before the pieces fall into place. Because then when the guitar leads the piece, it feels more grounded, more certain. We then get Dave Grusin’s theme to “It Takes A Thief,” which is another of the album’s highlights, in large part because of the work on strings. I am always a sucker for cello, and Kate LaVerne’s work on cello is prominent early on. Then the track takes a turn, becoming a funky number. The album concludes with “Everytime,” the other track outside of its theme. This one was written by Louis Cole, and is a fairly mellow tune.

CD Track List

Detectives Medley (Watching The Detectives, Get Smart, The Untouchables
Kojak Theme
Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Lost Letter
Johnny Staccato
America Drinks And Goes Home
Thirteen Crimes
Noir Alley
It Takes A Thief

Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III is scheduled to be released on August 6, 2019. –Michael Doherty

World Jazz News | Jun 28, 2019

USA: New Release: Mark Doyle Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III

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Midwest Record | Jun 24, 2019

Mark Doyle/Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III”

Long time behind the scenes MVP that has worked with everyone from those who make you smile to those who make you wince shows he never lost his sense of humor as he gives forth with his third set in 20 years of his vision/version of crime jazz pulled from cop show themes. As much Zappa as Earle Hagen, pomo ears will get a real kick out of this thrill ride through the underbelly of the underbelly. Creativity you can champion. (Free Will 565)

Lemon Wire | Jun 21, 2019

Mark Doyle tips a fedora to detectives on “Guitar Noir III”

Guitarist Mark Doyle released his first detective-themed album, “Guitar Noir” in 1999. Twenty years later, “Watching the Detectives: Guitar Noir III” is scheduled for release Aug. 6, 2019.

“Watching The Detectives: Guitar Noir III” follows “Guitar Noir” and “In Dreams: Guitar Noir II.”

“Guitar Noir III” is a jazz album, but it has some serious rock ‘n’ roll bones, especially “Detectives Medley.” There are catchy grooves, hard-hitting riffs and a mix of originals and cover tunes. Overall, the songs on “Guitar Noir III” are the soundtrack to an interpretation of American popular culture that needs to be heard.

It seems wrong to call an album “fun,” when the musicianship is so solid. The string section, guitar and drums raucously intersect with each other. The result is that songs like “Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “Watching the Detectives” (as part of “Detectives Medley”) get new sounds and listeners should appreciate the musicianship that has gone into making older songs new.

About Mark Doyle

Doyle’s professional musical career began when formed his first band, Jukin’ Bone and was signed to RCA while still a teen. Later his career included playing with or producing projects with musicians such as Leo Sayer, Hall & Oates, Meat Loaf, Judy Collins, Bryan Adams and others. In addition, he has provided string arrangements for New Kids On the Block, Tiffany, The Stylistics, and The Cavedogs.

Doyle has his own band, Mark Doyle & The Maniacs. The group has released six albums and play shows throughout the Northeastern US. The sound of “Watching the Detectives: Guitar Noir III” by Mark Doyle

The cover art and concept of the album work together to make audiences think of the heyday of jazz, the detective noir novels and movies and television shows. There is more than a hint of jazz on several songs, such as Doyle’s original, “Noir Alley” that captures the bluesy feel of jazz and mixes it with the steely determination of rock-oriented music. The guitar solo is piercing and haunting at the same time.

Other songs that must be heard from this brilliant album are “Johnny Staccato” and the aforementioned “Detectives Medley.” The rock-orientation is unmistakable.

On “Guitar Noir III,” Doyle plays guitars, keyboards, bass and drum programming. In addition, Josh Dekaney can be heard on drums and percussion. Further, there is a string section that includes Ally Brown, Shelby Dems, Jonathon Hwang, and Joe Davoli on violins, and Kate LaVerne on cello. The string sections were written and conducted by Doyle. Their dramatic use as intensifiers.

Two songs on the album are outside of the concept of “Guitar Noir III”: “America Drinks and Goes Home” by Frank Zappa and “Everytime” by Louis Cole. The latter is full of searing, almost poignant guitar work that is a slowed-down counterpoint to the rocker (“Detectives”) that opens the album.

“Guitar Noir III” is unexpected. The concept, the soundscape both present something familiar in ways that could not be predicted. Full of energy, yet precise, it is one of those one-of-a-kind albums that audiences will turn to again and again. –Dodie Miller-Gould

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