“Last Tango in Paris” is a soundtrack album of the 1972 film of the same title, which was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and starred Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider.
The film score was composed by Argentinian-born composer and tenor saxophonist Gato Barbieri, who is known mainly for his free jazz recordings of the 1960s and Latin jazz recordings of the 1970s. The orchestra was arranged and conducted by American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, arranger and composer Oliver Nelson.
It is a mellow and romantic film score including the elements of orchestral pop, Latin-jazz, jazz fusion and tango. It is an effective soundtrack that enhances the decadent and sensual mood of the film, which depicts a sexual relationship between an American middle-aged man and a young Parisian woman.
The main theme featuring Barbieri’s smoky sax solos is a well-known piece.
The album (11 tracks, 30:40) was released in 1973 by United Artists Records. It is not the original score used in the film, but an album re-recorded in November 1972 after the film premiered.
The album won Best Instrumental Composition (other than Jazz) in the 15th Annual Grammy Awards in 1973.
No. 4 “Last Tango in Paris – Ballad” is an arrangement in the jazz-funk style. No. 11 “Last Tango in Paris – Jazz Waltz” is an arrangement like acid jazz.
In 1998, Rykodisc reissued the album on CD. The CD includes 29 additional tracks (about 25 minutes) from the original score in mono as “The Last Tango in Paris Suite”.
In 2005, Italian label GDM released a remastered CD of the album including 12 previously unreleased tracks.
In 2016, Quartet Records (Spain) released a 2-CD expanded edition: disc 1 “The Film Score” (49 tracks, 57:10) contains the complete original score in stereo, which was based on the original 8-channel multi-track recording. Disc 2 “The Album Recording” contains the 1972 re-recording mastered from the first-generation 3-track master tape.
About twenty minutes of the original score were actually used in the film.