Friday, August 29, 2008

Current Buzz


Stu Brown's Raymond Scott Project has launched a website. The group's mission is to introduce the original RSQ repertoire to a new generation of Euro audiences. Stu (at drumkit, left) recently began adding RS electronica into the mix, but his program largely offers an updating of early Scott Quintette tunes. He is also prospecting for an album deal. The plunderphonically mischievous Bran Flakes have been given free reign to scavenge the Scott catalog and mash up a centennial remix album for 2009 release. More on this as-yet untitled project as it develops. The U.S. Military Academy Band at West Point will present an all-Scott recital on September 14. Admission is FREE. I'll be on hand to offer an introductory talk about RS and screen the trailer for Stan Warnow's work-in-progress documentary about his father, the composer. The student band at the Manhattan School of Music will perform "Powerhouse" on October 14. "Powerhouse" also makes two cameos in the soundtrack of a new film, RockNRolla, directed by Guy Ritchie, slated for Oct. 8 release. View trailer here. (Spoiler alert: "Powerhouse" ain't in it.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

But were the musicians smiling?


Nice shot of RS in conductor mode, probably counting down "take 214-a" while band members glance at the clock, mutter imprecations, and wonder if they'll make last call. Likely vintage: 1950. Apparently snapped when RS was at the musical helm of Your Hit Parade, which jumped from CBS radio to NBC-TV that year. Clue: haircut (similar to photos of RS leading his 1948-49 quintet; he later sported a crew cut on YHP); suspenders and elegant tie, both of which seem late-1940s/1950 vogue. HT: Stan Warnow for the scan.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Raymond Scott: The Musical


ACT 1, SCENE 1 A basement in Brooklyn. Saturday. GRANDFATHER: Who in the basement makes such noise? YOUNG BOY: Methinks should I, ere this box opn'd T'would suffer most grievous shellacking Yet respond I must and feign surprise Ho, Grandfather, 'tis I that ventured To this most subterranean homesick place. GRANDFATHER: Ay, t'were foretold one day the boy would come To find the discs that music play'd To rent the air with kitt'nish pseudo-jazz and end these years of peace My heart darken'd. O lost! YOUNG BOY: Yet who hailed as king 'mid these ancient tunes? GRANDFATHER: Dare speak I not, nor say the name 'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, lad. YOUNG BOY: For this relief, much thanks: 'tis bitter cold, And I am sick at heart. GRANDFATHER Fear not the turgid trembl'ng within thy bowels 'Tis but Grandma's chili racing for the exit. They both laugh. The doorbell rings. Grandfather opens the door Enter two friends of Grandfather -- Marcel and Fellatio YOUNG BOY: What, is Fellatio there? GRANDFATHER: Welcome, Fellatio: welcome, good Marcel. MARCEL: What, has this thing dost appear'd again to-night? GRANDFATHER: I have witness'd naught. MARCEL: Fellatio says 'tis but our fantasy, And will not let belief take hold of him Of this dread music, twice heard of us: Therefore I have entreated him along With us to listen the minutes of this night; As new year's eve in a haunt'd house That if again this apparition cometh, He may approve our eyes and speak to it. FELLATIO: Tush, tush, 'twill not appear. GRANDFATHER: Sit down awhile; And let us once again assail your ears, As the kittenish pseudo-jazz doth assail ours That are fortified against our story What we have two nights heard. FELLATIO: Well, sit we down, And let us hear Grandfather speak of this. GRANDFATHER: Last night of all, When yond same star that's westward from the pole Had made his course to illume that part of heaven Where now it burns, Marcel and myself, The bell then beating one,-- Enter Ghost of Raymond Scott MARCEL: Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again! GRANDFATHER: In the same figure, good radio's hit parade. MARCEL: Thou art a scholar; speak to it, Fellatio. GRANDFATHER: Looks it not like the bandleader? Mark it, Fellatio. FELLATIO: Most like: it harrows me with fear and wonder. GRANDFATHER: It would be spoke to. MARCEL: Question it, Fellatio. FELLATIO: What art thou that usurp'st this time of night, Together with that fair and warlike form In which the majesty of Shirley Temple Did sometimes march? By heaven I charge thee, speak! MARCEL: 'Tis offend'd. GRANDFATHER: See, he stalks away! FELLATIO: Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak! Exit Ghost MARCEL: 'Tis gone, and will not answer. GRANDFATHER: How now, Fellatio! You tremble and look pale: Is not this something more than fantasy? What think you on't? FELLATIO: Before my God, I might not this believe Without the sensible and true avouch Of mine own eyes. MARCEL: Nor would I aver The entire quintette, should they arise. FELLATIO: As thou art to thyself: Such was the very tux he had on When he the ambitious cartoon scor'd; So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle, He smote the grievous saxophone man. 'Tis strange. MARCEL: Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour, Thus pow'rhous'd hath he gone by our watch. FELLATIO: In what particular thought to work I know not; But in the gross and scope of my opinion, bodes bumpy weather o'er the new ark. MARCEL: Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows, Why this same strict and most confusing watch So nightly toils the subject of the land, Among a fleet of brazen cabs, And soothing sounds, the playful drummer; Why such impress of stalling made, whose sore task To score the moods of stutt'ring pigs and insane poultry? What might be toward, that this sweaty haste Doth make the reckless night with the day: Who is't can inform me? FELLATIO: That can I; At least, the whisper goes so. [to be continued ...] by Don Brockway

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ducks, Bugs, Penguins, and Wooden Indians


Stu adds: "I don't remember Donald Duck being a Warner Bros. character." Little known fact: Donald auditioned for Looney Tunes, but was deemed too unstable for the role. He later caught on as a bit player for Disney and parlayed early waddle-ons into a respectable second-tier career. He had a lifelong predilection for bitchy dames and bad cars. Until his 1983 death from cirrhosis of the liver, Donald remained bitter and resentful at the star treatment accorded Mickey.