Sunday, August 26, 2007

Whirled Chamber Music

Jazz violinist Jeremy Cohen, leader of the Quartet San Francisco, whose forthcoming album, Whirled Chamber Music, contains seven classic Raymond Scott compositions:

"I was introduced to Raymond Scott by a stagehand pushing a broom. It was 1995, at the Theatre on the Square in San Francisco (now the Post Street Theatre), and I was lead violinist for a 22-month run of Forever Tango. The stagehand was Peter Palermo, now director of the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts in Lebanon, IL. Peter brought me a Scott CD called Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights. It set off in me a Raymond Scott fever that still burns! Now, as 2008 marks the one-hundredth anniversary of Raymond Scott’s birth, we have dedicated a large portion of Whirled to this brilliant composer, inventor, bandleader, and pioneer of electronic music."

Samples of Whirled can be heard here.

Over the next few months, the QSF will perform in Los Angeles, Columbus, Pasadena, Louisville, NJ, NYC, Berkeley, Natick, and elsewhere.

Whirled's cover art may not look familiar, but it features details of an uncirculated mid-1960s painting by LP cover illustration icon Jim Flora.

Update (06 DEC 07): Grammy nomination!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Civilization vs. Barbarism

Crazy Ay-rabs, beheaded infidels, insensitive Middle Eastern stereotypes, offensive Muslim cartoons, IEDs, abductions, gratuitous violence, Western imperialism, drugs, burqas, bestiality, and a makeshift Raymond Scott soundtrack.

Now THAT'S entertainment.

Sunday, August 05, 2007


Kodachrome (released on Basta in 2002) was, as the subtitle noted, a collection of "Compositions for Orchestra by Raymond Scott." The album was produced by Gert-Jan Blom (founder of The Beau Hunks), and features the Metropole Orchestra conducted by Jan Stulen.

This repertoire reflects a little-known side of Scott: serious orchestral composer with an idiosyncratic flair. Scott was a renowned big band leader in the early 1940s, but the tunes on Kodachrome are not Swing Era chestnuts. Most of the titles were, by Scott standards, obscure; none had been hits for the composer, and none were featured in cartoons or films. Dating from the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, some had never been commercially released (e.g., "City of New York," "Minor Prelude," "Dreary Weather on Sixth Avenue," and "The Bullfighter and His Piccolo"); others had been released without fanfare or commercial success (e.g., "Naked City," "Symphony Under the Stars," and "Secret Agent"); and a few were radio rarities (e.g., "Rococo," "Hertz Theme," "Confusion Among a Fleet of Taxicabs Upon Meeting With a Fare"). Scores do not exist for many of these titles; performance transcriptions were made from archival recordings by members of the Metropole.

The magnificent cover was illustrated by Kellie Strøm. Here's a rough sketch from the artist: