The Music of Detective Harry Bosch

Perhaps you’ve seen the series on Amazon – Bosch – or read the books written by Michael Connelly on which the series is based.

I was all caught up on my Harlan Coben reading, so I was looking for a new author to start in on, and after a bit of searching, I came across Michael Connelly (the fact that he was from Philly was the tipping point).

At this point, I’ve only read the first novel in the Bosch series, and it was quite good, and so I’ve started in on the second one.

I found out about the TV series at the same time I bought his first book; the TV show is mentioned on the cover. So after I read the first book, I suggested to my wife and son that we check out the series. So far, we’ve watched the first two seasons, and are about halfway through the third. Like the books, it is quite good.

One of the recurring parts of both the books and the TV series is frequent mention of jazz music. My guess is that Michael Connelly must be a jazz lover.

I don’t know much about jazz, and just reading about it in the novels didn’t do much to make me any more familiar with it, but it did make me a little curious. But then once we started watching the series, and hearing the jazz music playing in the background, or listening to Bosch teach his daughter about jazz, made it come alive.

So when I thought of writing a Music Monday post about the jazz music in Bosch, I wasn’t sure to what extent I could do so, since I have not read all the novels and I am not that familiar with jazz to start with.

Fortunately, a Google search revealed that Michael Connelly actually has a web page devoted to the music mentioned in his books. He lists the music both alphabetically by artist as well as by novel. For example, here’s the list of artists/music mentioned in the first novel:

Branford Marsalis
Frank Morgan
John Coltrane, “Soul Eyes”
Sonny Rollins, Falling In Love With Jazz
Wayne Shorter, “502 Blues”
Jimi Hendrix, “Purple Haze”

I also came across a site that is dedicated to providing the music that is part of the TV series, broken down by each season and episode. So for example, the listing for the first season includes the following songs:

Lullaby by Frank Morgan
The Sermon by Hampton Hawes
Solamente by Jonathan Marsh
Heavy Dreams by Lloyd Price
Spark Plug by Melvin Sparks
Homefulness by Bonfire Madigan
I Had a Dream by Jimmy Witherspoon
Wicked Rain by Los Lobos
Patricia by Art Pepper

I am not familiar with most of the songs/artists mentioned in either list, so I thought it was time to start expanding my music knowledge, particularly with respect to jazz.

Thanks to good old YouTube, I was able to find these songs, and I thought I’d share a few of those songs. For those of you already familiar with the songs, hopefully listening to them brings back good memories. For those of you new to jazz or these particular artists, I hope you enjoy them and that perhaps they will become part of your music library.

Since Michael Connelly has produced a documentary about Frank Morgan, I thought I would start there, with Lullaby:

and here’s Soul Eyes by John Coltrane

The Sermon by Hampton Hawes

Wicked Rain by Los Lobos:

Patricia by Art Pepper:

Branford Marsalis. I’ve heard of him, but since there is no specific song mentioned, I just picked one at random off YouTube, The Ruby and the Pearl (I like the name):

And if this isn’t enough, there’s even a Harry Bosch playlist on Spotify.

Enjoy, and thanks to Michael Connelly for offering me a somewhat guided tour of the world of jazz.

I am sure there will be updates to this post as I discover more of the music of Detective Bosch…

10 thoughts on “The Music of Detective Harry Bosch

  1. Interesting article, I’m in the same journey at the moment…discovering jazz and came across your blog post. I will check out some of the videos you’ve posted. Gene Ammons and Art Pepper are worth listening based on the Spotify playlist.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jim: Just saw this article since I am a new followerr. I am sure Hieronymous would be appreciative of this article. I like jazz but confess to knowing very little about it.

    I did notice that you mentioned Harlan Coben. I have been a big Myron and Win fan for a long time. Mickey Bolitar is OK but I would much prefer more Myron and Win cases. But our book characters age, just as we do I suppose. I am just finishing one of Coben’s latest – “Win”. Myron has moved out of his office and I think is in Florida with his new wife, so this novel focuses solely on Windsor Horne Lockwood III and his family. Win does kick ass a couple of times so that is good !

    Other detective series I enjoy are Robert B. Parker, particularly those with Spenser and Hawk, and Chief Jessie Stone. Other favorites are Elvis Cole and Joe Pike written by Robert Crais (also primarily based in L.A. like Bosch). I like author John Sandford and his “Prey” series with both Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers.

    Our wonderful dog who just passed was named Lucas. His successor is named Olivia after the lead female FBI agent in our alltime favorite TV series – “Fringe”. We plan to get a brother for Olivia early next year and he already has a name – Virgil. If you see a pattern there, you are not mistaken. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am the same way about jazz; I wish I knew more.
      Harlan Coben is my favorite popular author, and I loved the Myron Bolitar series. I read Win a couple months ago, and it was great, but I missed theinteraction between the two of them.

      Thanks for all those suggestions; I may have to check out Fringe.

      We jsut finished watching Lupin, which was wonderful…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you have Amazon Prime, and you have a Smart TV, you should have free access to all 5 seasons of Fringe, as well as lots of other great stuff, such as Bosch.

        Come to think of it, you must have Prime because you have been watching Bosch! Walter Bishop (actor John Noble) is one of the truly great characters in series television. You have to watch a lot of season one to really get into this series.
        But if you do, I guarantee you will love Walter, and chances are you too may become a Fringe fan.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Here’s another combination book author and TV series recommendation for you. My wife and I have been big fans of the long running TV series Bones. We are currently rewatching the entire, 12 season series which ended in 2017. Watching about 3 episodes per week, and with some 20+ episodes per season, we’ll be watching this for some time. I think we just started season 4!

    I knew that the series was based upon the books, and the real life of author, and forensic pathologist, Kathy Reichs. But I had never before read any of those books. I have just started and am currently on book 4 of the 23 book series, the most current of which was just published in 2021.

    For fans of the TV series like me, it takes a bit of getting used to that the books are quite different from the TV series. Bones (Dr Temperance Brennan) is the only character, so far, that is common to both. Also, some entire books take place in Montreal Canada because Bones divides her time between Montreal and Charlotte North Carolina as does the real Bones, author Kathy Reichs.

    I kind of speed read past a lot of the really heavy forensic explanations that bog the book down in places, but I have found the plots to be quite compelling. I’m looking forward to continuing to read more books in the series. If you get a chance, you might want to read the first book in the series, “Deja Dead”, to see if it is your cup of tea.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much for your detailed recommendation; I think I have watched a couple episodes of the show. The reason I watched it is that one of the stars of the show, David Boreanz is a local guy who made it to the big time. He was a member of our church, and his dad was a well known local TV weather guy…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your personal connection with David Boreanz is very interesting. He has definitely made the big time. Before Bones, he was first popular on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”. Since Bones, he is the star of the now fairly long running “Seal Team”. We particularly liked the back and forth repartee between Boreanz character, Agent Seely Booth, and Dr. Temperance Brennan. I am on my 5th book now and there is no character like Booth, although there is a Montreal police detective that Bones thinks about, but has not yet acted upon. She also has a very good female friend in the books who I suppose that the TV character of Angela Montenegro is loosly modeled upon.


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