Thursday, December 20, 2012

75 Years of Wooden Indians

On this date 75 years ago, Raymond Scott returned to CBS studios with his 6-man 'Quintette' to record "War Dance For Wooden Indians." This hit tune was released in 1937, and is consecrated into several classic LOONEY TUNES shorts including "The Odor-able Kitty," "Tom Tom Tomcat," "A Peck o' Trouble," and "Bye, Bye Bluebeard." Download the vintage Columbia recording from the iTunes store, or Amazon, and watch one of our favorite covers here:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

It's Alive: Electronium Restoration Update

Yesterday I received an email from Darren Davidson, who is attempting to restore the Motown Electronium:

On Nov 28, 2012, at 1:18 PM, Darren Davison wrote:

Good Morning!
 
Last night a few Electrical/Engineering friends of mine and I were trying to get to the bottom of why the Electronium would still not utter a sound. After about an hour of tinkering and following the initial setup procedure Raymond wrote up, the machine began to make very simple and crude sounds. We recorded the sounds and although they are hardly musical, it is a fantastic milestone.
 
Most of the tone generators, but of course, there are more questions than answers. The voltages delivered by the power supplies are still not quite right and many of the pot switches are so sticky, that adjusting them is like steering a car in ice with a flat tire. The recording and "Auto-composing" portion is still not working and my feelings were "just get it to make some kind of controllable sound" first, then work on getting fancy.
 
I am sure this will accelerate things, and I have been in contact with Alan Entenman and am sending him photos of the internals of the Electronium in hopes of refreshing his memory of how some of it should work on the recording and keyboard side.
 
Anyway, I am hoping that by March, even if it is not recording or auto composing, the sounds are less harsh and that some of the other features such as the "Bass generators, "counterpoints", and other features are working.
 
I will send a copy of the sound files as soon as I can, most likely this evening. It's on the Engineering guys phone and he is having trouble sending vide for some reason. The whole thing was recorded on an Iphone and there is a 4 min? video of me adjusting knobs and such. In all fairness to their help, their names are Guy Lewis and Pete Levno.
 
Now I think we will start picking up steam!
 
—Darren

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New release: "SUITE FOR VIOLIN & PIANO"

Raymond Scott created a diverse body of work that included jazz novelties (often considered "cartoon music"), orchestral ballads, a Broadway musical, film scores, commercial jingles, electronic miniatures, and avant-garde musique concrète. However, the Suite for Violin and Piano, composed in 1950 and never commercially released, was unique in his catalog.

The same daredevil who gave the world “The Toy Trumpet” and “Powerhouse” composed this exquisitely crafted classical jewel. True, Scott was a 1931 Juilliard grad, but the closest his prior compositions had inched towards the classics were jazzed-up reinventions of Mozart, Verdi, and Schubert.

 
The five-movement work was publicly performed just once, at Carnegie Hall in 1950, by renowned violinist Arnold Eidus and pianist Carlo Bussotti. The work was then recorded by Eidus and Bussotti, under the supervision of the composer. However, Scott did not release it commercially for reasons historically unknown.


In 2004, after Scott's widow, Mitzi, discovered the score at home, a new recording was produced by Beau Hunks Orchestra leader Gert-Jan Blom in the Netherlands, featuring violinist Davide Rossi and pianist Ramon Dor.


The two versions are now coupled on this new Basta release. The package is adorned with vintage 1940s and '50s music illustrations by noted artist Jim Flora, and features liner notes co-written by Gert-Jan Blom and Scott authority Irwin Chusid.



Producer: Gert-Jan Blom
Executive Producer: Jeroen van der Schaaf
Art Direction: Piet Schreuders
Illustrations: Jim Flora
Research: Irwin Chusid and Jeff E. Winner


On a special note, we are offering free copies of the sheet music at http://bastamusic.com/suite

• Get the CD or download from Amazon.com here, or the iTunes Store: here

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Live WZBC Radio Special with
Jeff E. Winner & Tom Rhea:
75th Anniversary Event

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Raymond Scott's music, Brian Carpenter hosted a live 3-hour WZBC radio special — co-hosted by Jeff E. Winner (me) of the RS Archives, and Tom Rhea (Berklee, MOOG Music), with special guests: J.G. Thirlwell (FOETUS, STEROID MAXIMUS), DJ Spooky, Stu Brown, Will Friedwald, Daniel Goldmark, Irwin Chusid, and David Harrington (KRONOS QUARTET).
• LISTEN HERE: The show can now be streamed:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

"30 ROCK"

During the 1950s, Raymond Scott was seen by millions of television viewers every week on the show YOUR HIT PARADE, which was filmed at NBC's Studio 8H located at 30 Rockefeller Center in NYC. On October 18th, Scott's music returns to primetime NBC-TV — his tune "Rococo" will make a cameo on the hit series, 30 ROCK. The show was created by Tina Fey, based upon her experiences on Saturday Night Live, which is also filmed in Studio 8H in the '30 Rock' building. As Executive Producer and Composer, Jeff Richmond says, "I write all the music for 30 ROCK and I wanted to thank you for the Raymond Scott piece. Truly hip. It has a very important use. It's at the end and helps tie all the story lines together." UPDATE: Watch the entire episode: here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New "Looney Tunes: Platinum Collection Volume Two" 3-DVD Blu-ray set

Is there a cartoon geek on your holiday shopping list? The new "LOONEY TUNES: PLATINUM COLLECTION Volume Two" 3-DVD Blu-ray set is released today. Watch side-by-side remastering comparison of "Canned Feud" — featuring Raymond Scott's hit tune, "Huckleberry Duck" — below:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Walt Disney Concert Hall show in LA:
Oingo Boingo's Steve Bartek & Ego Plum

Press release from Walt Disney Concert Hall:

LOS ANGELES, CA — REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown center for contemporary arts, presents in cooperation with JEFF E. WINNER of The Raymond Scott Archives, a special evening celebrating pioneer of electronic music Raymond Scott. Machine-Man: The Musical Mayhem of Raymond Scott will be held at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater on Friday, November 9 at 8:30 pm.

Though musical shape-shifter Raymond Scott may no longer be a household name, his inimitable “cartoon jazz” is instantly recognized by millions: it has been adapted to underscore the antics of BUGS BUNNY, DAFFY DUCK, REN & STIMPY, THE SIMPSONS, and many other cartoon characters for 75 years. Scott, moreover, was an inventor of instruments and a pioneer of electronic music.


In this unprecedented celebration of Scott’s polymorphic career, former OINGO BOINGO co-founder and guitarist STEVE BARTEK and his band (including other Oingo Boingo alums) find new takes on the composer’s early cartoon classics, while composer EGO PLUM’s ensemble re-envisions Scott’s farsighted electronica. Joining in is the Rogue Artists Ensemble who will stage a first-ever live interpretation of a vintage Scott film collaboration with MUPPETS creator JIM HENSON.


Event webpage on REDCAT.ORG:

http://www.redcat.org/event/raymond-scott-tribute

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

24th Annual Earshot Jazz Film Festival

The award-winning documentary film, "DECONSTRUCTING DAD," will be screened twice during the 24th Annual Earshot Jazz Film Festival at the Northwest Film Forum on Saturday, October 27th, and Sunday, October 28th. The Film Forum is Seattle's premier film arts organization, known for “adventurous, spot-on programming” (Jazz Times) and praised as "one of the best festivals in America" (Seattle Times) the Earshot Jazz Festival brings concerts by some of the most important and emerging artists in the world, a series of rare jazz films, photo exhibits, panel discussions, educational programs and more. TICKETS: HERE

Directed by Raymond Scott's son, STAN WARNOW, and co-produced by JEFF WINNER (me), the documentary features: JOHN WILLIAMS, multi-Academy Award®-winning movie soundtrack composer (JAWS, STAR WARS, HARRY POTTER), MARK MOTHERSBAUGH, Emmy Award®-winning movie & TV score writer, & co-founder of DEVO, DJ SPOOKY, aka PAUL D. MILLER, turntablist, producer, & author, and others.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

6th Annual Buffalo International Film Festival at The Screening Room Cinema

The award-winning documentary film, "DECONSTRUCTING DAD," will be screened at the 6th Annual Buffalo International Film Festival at the The Screening Room Cinema on Saturday, September 22nd. "The Buffalo International Film Festival is western New York State's Premier Motion Picture and Music Festival. The Screening Room Cinema Cafe features big screen showings of classic, foreign, cult and new independent movies. Movies are shown in a relaxed and comfortable cafe setting, with beer, wine, coffees and snacks served." TICKETS: HERE

Directed by Raymond Scott's son, STAN WARNOW, and co-produced by JEFF WINNER (me), the documentary features: JOHN WILLIAMS, multi-Academy Award®-winning movie soundtrack composer (JAWS, STAR WARS, HARRY POTTER), MARK MOTHERSBAUGH, Emmy Award®-winning movie & TV score writer, & co-founder of DEVO, DJ SPOOKY, aka PAUL D. MILLER, turntablist, producer, & author, and others.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

New Documentary Film Reviews


Recent movie theater screenings of the documentary film, DECONSTRUCTING DADprompts new reviews:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Heartfelt documentary… This well-made film argues that Scott’s most significant achievements were his inventions of electronic instruments.”
THE NEW YORK TIMES, Stephen Holden
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Both an exhaustive exhumation of a forgotten 20th-century genius and a tender, bittersweet requiem for a fractured family.”
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Bruce Bennett
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“On a personal level, this film tells a fascinating tale. The focus on Scott’s music and electronic experimentation remains strong throughout, thanks to an eclectic roster of musicians and scholars including JOHN WILLIAMS, JEFF E. WINNER, MARK MOTHERSBAUGH, and DJ SPOOKY.”
VARIETY, Ronnie Scheib
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“A beautiful, personal look back on the man’s career;  it’s essential viewing.”
TIME OUT NEW YORK, Bruce Tantum
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Personal discoveries, never-before-seen archival footage, and in-depth insights from a range of historians and collaborators shed light on one of the most intriguing composers and musical innovators of the 20th century.”
WIRED magazine, Geeta Dayal
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Undeniably poignant, providing plenty of fascinating details.”
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, Frank Scheck
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Pays lavish tribute to the work of Raymond Scott.”  
NEW YORK POST, Lou Lumenick
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Informative and entertaining, it tells a loving, resonant story of an American original.”
HUFFINGTON POST, Regina Weinreich
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“A work of careful consideration, moral weighing, and deliberateness of craft.”
SLANT magazine, Kalvin Henely
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“It is a fascinating primer on Scott’s work. A portrait of Scott as a multi-hyphenate musical prodigy.”
VILLAGE VOICE, Simon Abrams
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“The film ignites interest in anyone who sees it.”
—WNYC, Leonard Lopate
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“An offbeat, intimate documentary.”
NEW YORK magazine
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“An enthralling, poignant film that tells the story of a truly pivotal figure in 20th-century music. An essential view inside the wonders of creative genius, American-style.”
LA WEEKLYJohn Payne
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“A very powerful, honest, direct, and personal documentary film.”
NPRRadio Times, Marty Moss-Coane
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“A fascinating look at a musical genius and the way he lived his life. This absorbing, highly personal documentary is well worth checking out. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
LEONARD MALTIN, film critic, historian, and author
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Raymond Scott isn’t a fascinating figure to tech-heads and crate-diggers alone — to this day, he continues to mystify even his own son, a veteran filmmaker. Through interviews with the likes of MARK MOTHERSBAUGH and JOHN WILLIAMS — as well as his own family members — the younger Warnow pieces together a portrait of an artist neither he nor his father’s fans fully understand.”
THE ONION AV Club
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“A beautifully-produced testament to the legacy of an extremely brilliant musician and innovator. It scarcely seems possible that this much genius was crammed into a single brain, but this film captures it all in glorious detail. It all adds up to a 98-minute viewing experience that at times finds one awestruck. It’s a safe bet that, pending eligibility, a much-deserved Oscar nomination is just around the corner. By all means, SEE THIS FILM!”
NITELIFE EXCHANGE, Andrew Martin
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“In a bittersweet paean to his late father, the director has taken great pains assembling a visual and aural composite of his subject. The insights afforded by Raymond Scott’s own son add shades of intrigue and pathos not found in the average music documentary.”
THE WIRE magazine, Erik Morse
★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Movie Theater Screening of Documentary Film at the Hippodrome in Florida

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of Raymond Scott's music, the documentary film, "DECONSTRUCTING DAD," will be screened on August 7th, at 7:15pm, at The Hippodrome Theater in Gainesville, Florida. After the film, a live Skype Talkback Q&A with Director and Scott’s son, Stan Warnow, and Co-Producer/Curator of the Raymond Scott Archives, Jeff E. Winner (me). Details here:

http://thehipp.org/Calendar/cinema/817

http://thehipp.org/Calendar/special-events/819

The Hippodrome, referred to by locals as "the Hipp", is a regional professional theatre located in the restored 1912 Federal Building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hipp screens first-run foreign, limited release and avant-garde films (over 700 per year).

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dorothy Collins: Experiment Songs

In 1961, veteran songwriters Hy Zaret and Lou Singer produced an entertaining and educational series of LPs entitled Ballads for the Age of Science. Marketed at curious youngsters, the songs explained nature, energy, motion, outer space, and weather in a variety of musical arrangements, delivered by folksingers Tom Glazer, Dottie Evans, and the husband-wife duo of Marais and Miranda.

One volume, Experiment Songs, was sung by Raymond Scott's then-wife, Dorothy Collins. In a warm, endearing voice, Collins sang about magnets, rainbows, planetary orbits, vibration, and minerals. To our ears, this is some of the most charming singing by Dorothy Collins ever captured on disc. She is accompanied by a small orchestra led by guitarist Tony Mottola (who formerly played with Raymond's big band).

The albums have long been out of print. However, earlier this year I came to an agreement with the late Hy Zaret's son Robert to reissue the series. Working with best-available source recordings, I digitally restored all six albums, which are now available at iTunes and elsewhere. We're hoping to reissue the series on vinyl at some point.

You can hear samples and purchase tracks (or the complete album) of Experiment Songs here.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New video — Mitzi Scott: "An American Girl on the Home Front"

Today would have been Mitzi Scott's 94th birthday, and in her honor I've uploaded a superb mini-documentary — watch it here <<<

Warner Bros. produced the movie, MOLLY: AN AMERICAN GIRL ON THE HOME FRONT, as part of the American Girl series. Molly is a young aspiring dancer in a small midwestern town during World War II, who passionately wants to win the starring role of "Miss Victory" in her grade school's Christmas gala tap dance review. (Cast includes Molly Ringwald.) For the DVD, they searched for an entertainer from those years, and were lucky to find Mitzi, Raymond Scott's 3rd wife: "A compelling documentary featuring Mitzi Scott, an 88-year-old former USO dancer and hostess, relaying her personal history of dancing at home and with soldiers on leave, making something personal and dear to her — dance — into the ultimate patriotic act."

The 2nd part of this Vimeo video is an excerpt from the full-length documentary film, DECONSTRUCTING DAD, with Mitzi remembering her first date with — and marriage to — Raymond Scott. [DVD info: ScottDoc.com]

Both clips were screened at the reception following Mitzi's memorial service on June 22, 2012.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Week of New York City Theater Documentary Film Screenings

To celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Raymond Scott's music, the award-winning documentary film DECONSTRUCTING DAD will be screened 5 times per day, for a week, at the Quad Cinema theater in New York City, between Friday July 13th and July 19th. Daily showtimes are: 1:00pm, 3:00pm, 5:15pm, 7:30pm, 9:50pm. Q&As with director Stan Warnow, co-producer Jeff E. Winner (me), & special guests to follow these select shows during opening weekend:

• Friday July 13 following the 7:30pm & 9:50pm shows
• Saturday July 14 following the 7:30pm & 9:50pm shows
• Sunday July 15 following the 3:00pm show

Our special guest on Friday will be MOOG synthesizer co-inventor, Herbert H. DeutschORDER ADVANCE TICKETS: HERE [For press inquiries please contact: Isil Bagdadi at CAVU Pictures/CAVU PR, email: cavupictures@aol.com]

Thursday, May 24, 2012

75 Years of Hungry Cannibals

75 years ago, on this date, Raymond Scott returned to CBS studios with his Quintette for their third session to record "Dinner Music For A Pack Of Hungry Cannibals." It was an immediate hit when it was released in 1937, and is immortalized in "Which Is Witch" and at least 16 other classic LOONEY TUNES. Download the vintage Columbia recording from the iTunes store, or Amazon, and check-out this cover by Kronos Quartet. Details about our year-long celebration of the 75th Anniversary here.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

BOB MOOG's memories of his friend and colleague Raymond Scott

Although the late Bob Moog was more than 25 years younger than Raymond Scott, they were professional colleagues, and friends. Here, in his own words, are Bob's memories of Raymond:

In the mid-1950s, I was in my early twenties, living with my parents, and attending Columbia University. In the evenings my father and I would make theremins as something between a hobby and a business. One day we got a call from Raymond Scott, who we knew from radio and television. He invited us to come out and see his place in North Hills, on Long Island, New York. We shot up Northern Boulevard and eventually we got there. It was a beautiful, big, four-story mansion surrounded by elegant grounds. Raymond greeted us and showed us in.

First, he showed us his recording studio. Then a very large room with a cutting lathe, and all sorts of monitoring and mixing equipment on the main floor of the house. I remember the amplifiers that drove the cutting head of this disc lathe were behind a screen, and they were big, fat vacuum tubes that would glow yellow like the sun at sunset.
Next he took us downstairs and showed us around. There was an elevator going from one floor to the other. The entire downstairs of the house was a dream workshop. It consisted of several rooms. A large room with nothing in it but machine tools of the highest quality. Everything you could want. There were four or five lathes, drill presses, milling machines, and on, and on. The next room was a wood-working shop. Once again, completely equipped. Next was an electronics assembly room, and off that there was a large, thoroughly equipped stockroom of all kinds of electronic parts.
So there my father and I were with our mouths hanging open! It looked like heaven to me. My father was an electrical engineer who worked for Consolidated Edison, and I was a twenty year-old electronics nerd who found himself on the track to becoming an engineer...

''It was the size of a football field! More than half a dozen big rooms, impeccably set-up. The floors were painted like a high class industrial laboratory. He had a whole room of metal-working equipment, a room full of wood-working equipment, and this huge barn of a room for electronics.''
—BOB MOOG

Raymond then brought us into the big room downstairs where he had music synthesis equipment. He had rack upon rack of stepping relays that were used by the telephone company. The relay would step through all positions when dialed. He had them hooked up to turn sounds on and off. It was a huge, electro-mechanical sequencer! And he had it programmed to produce all sorts of rhythmic patterns. It looked like something out of a science fiction movie. First, we heard all these funny sounds coming from all over the place — 'beep-beep, boomp, bop-bop' — and then 'click-click-click-click-click' on top of that — dozens and hundreds of things going 'click-click-click.' We were standing right in the middle of it. It was disorienting. I'd never seen anything like it! Never tried to imagine anything like it. And I'm sure it gave me something to think about over the years.
Raymond also showed us his "Circle Machine," which was a big disc, and a rotating arm with a photo-cell at the end of the arm. There was a series of lights on the circumference of the disc that this arm would pass over, and you could adjust the brightness of each lightbulb. As the arm swung around, and the photocell was illuminated and got darker, the different sounds would come on and off.
Obviously, not everybody could do these things. It required a huge amount of imagination, a huge amount of money, and an impressive amount of craziness too!


''Raymond Scott bought a theremin from me in the early 1950s. A couple of months later, he invited us to see his prototype of a keyboard instrument. This was NOT a theremin anymore. Raymond quickly realized there were more elegant ways of controlling an electronic circuit.''
—BOB MOOG

The evening ended by Raymond placing an order for a theremin with us. But he wouldn't tell us what it was for. Many months later, we delivered the theremin. Several months after we delivered, he calls again and asks us to come and see how he had used our theremin. Once again we got in the car and headed eastward on Northern Boulevard.
Off in one corner of his electronics workshop was our theremin that we had sold to him, with the pitch antenna cut off! In place of the pitch antenna there were wires going off to an assembly of parts in the back of a keyboard. Raymond called this his "Clavivox." This was not a theremin anymore — Raymond quickly realized there were more elegant ways of controlling an electronic circuit. He used a very steady source of light instead of a theremin for subsequent models. There was a shutter consisting of photographic film that got progressively lighter as it went up. This produced a voltage which then changed the pitch of the tone generator.
Raymond had everything adjusted so that, sure enough, when you played the keyboard you got the notes of the scale. But the really neat thing, as he pointed out, was that now you could glide from note to note — you could play expressively — you didn't have to play discrete notes.
The waveform of the sound determines the tone-color, and there are several different ways of changing the waveform that are characteristic of, but not identical to analog synthesizer. Much of the sound producing circuitry of the Clavivox resembles very closely the first analog synthesizer my company made in the mid-'60s. Some of the sounds are not the same sounds that you can get with an analog synthesizer, but they're close. The Clavivox also generated a vibrating voltage, or "vibrato," which can be turned on and off from the left-hand control.
There are three controls under the finger of your left to produce a fast attack, a slow attack, or a silence between notes. There's a lever you can press to extinguish a note so you can go very fast on and off. Although it has a three octave keyboard, there's a range switch on the front panel so you can play very low to very high. The Clavivox looks sort of like a synthesizer too; it has a three-octave keyboard, some left-hand controls, and a few knobs in the front. And this was all very impressive. Raymond said that he wanted us to see this because he was going to design a commercial product based on it.

Over the years, from time to time, Raymond would ask us to design a circuit for him. Then he'd come up from New York City and pick it up, or tell us what else he'd want. This happened every couple of months, and we became fairly good friends...


''Raymond Scott had brilliant intuition. He once said to me, 'The trouble with you is that you believe just because you think about something, then it's done.' I was having a hell of a problem managing my time. Raymond put his finger on part of the problem.''
—BOB MOOG

Now we cut to 1964. We began building synthesizers in Trumansburg, near Ithaca in central New York State. He used to come up to Trumansburg periodically, to give me new assignments and check up on how our work was coming.
We built circuits for Raymond, but often he wouldn't tell us what they were for. He was always very protective of his ideas and current projects. And he wasn't ashamed of it. He'd tell me, 'It's none of your business. Just build this circuit, and I'll take it from there.'
The listening public first became aware of the electronic music medium subliminally, through radio and TV commercials. Raymond Scott explored electronic sounds in widely-heard commercials during the 1950s and '60s, well before electronics infiltrated pop music through the Rock and Roll idiom. Raymond got a lot of his electronic music into radio and television, but he also went much further out and did pieces of music with the equipment he built. They don't sound as weird anymore, they sound similar to what artists are doing today.
Raymond Scott was definitely in the forefront of developing electronic music technology, and in the forefront of using it commercially as a musician.
He was the first — he foresaw the use of sequencers and electronic oscillators to make sound — these were the watershed uses of electronic circuitry.
He didn't always work in the standard ways, but that didn't matter because he had so much imagination, and so much intuition, that he could get something to work. And do exactly what he wanted it to do.
Raymond Scott was one of those rare people who was influenced by the future. Not by the past, not by the present, but by the future. He did things that later turned out to be directly for the future. I think Raymond was tuned into the celestial, cosmic network — the one that is out there in time as well as space — to a greater extent than the rest of us.

Text above is © Bob Moog

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Comic Strip

"Cul de Sac" is a light-hearted comic strip by Richard Thompson about the life of a pre-school girl named Alice Otterloop. Raymond Scott is mentioned in this recent episode — see the comic: here

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Raymond Scott on Mickopedia

Raymond Scott, as profiled on Mickopedia ("the feckin' free Irish encyclopedia"):

A 1931 graduate of the feckin' Juilliard School of Music, where he studied piano, theory and composition, Scott, under his birth name, began his professional career as an oul' pianist for the feckin' CBS Radio house band. Would ye swally this in a minute now? His older (by eight years) brother Mark conducted the oul' orchestra. Arra' would ye listen to this shite? Harry reportedly adopted the bleedin' pseudonym "Raymond Scott" to spare his brother charges of nepotism when the orchestra began performin' the bleedin' pianist's idiosyncratic compositions. In 1935 he married Pearl Zimney (1910-2001). Be the hokey, here's a quare wan.

Monday, May 07, 2012

Tobias Stretch: Reel II

Tobias Stretch: Reel II (2011)
Animation: Tobias Stretch
Music: The Raymond Scott Quintette 
"War Dance for Wooden Indians" (1938)

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Mitzi Scott (July 18, 1918 - May 3, 2012)

Mitzi Scott passed away in Santa Clarita, CA, on May 3, 2012, at age 93. She was the widow of legendary composer, jazz bandleader and electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott.

Born Mathilde Waldman, on July 18, 1918, in New York City to Muriel and Arthur Waldman, she grew up in the city, where she started dancing at age 10, thus developing a lifelong passion.

From 1937-43 Mitzi was part of the Roxyette troupe at the famed Roxy Theater on West 50th Street. In 1943 she first appeared on Broadway, and eventually performed in the musicals Star and Garter (with Gypsy Rose Lee), Something for the Boys (with Ethel Merman), and the road company of Let's Face It (with Benny Rubin). She performed on three national USO tours, headlined by Bing Crosby, Jackie Cooper, Phil Silvers, Martha Raye, and James Cagney.


In 1946 she married Hewitt Clay Curtis. The marriage dissolved a year and a half later, after which she sold advertising for the Miami Daily News and the Long Island Star-Journal. She became a dance instructor for the world-renowned Arthur Murray Dance Studios, and then served as a District Manager for Avon Cosmetics.
     
Mitzi was introduced to Raymond Scott in July 1966, and they were married in January 1967. (It was Mitzi's second marriage, Raymond's third.) She lived with Scott in Farmingdale, Long Island, at Willow Park, a sprawling suburban industrial park where Scott rented a large space that he had fashioned into a home and electronics lab. Mitzi undertook the administration of Scott's businesses during a period when he was inventing now-historic electronic instruments and The Electronium, a machine that composed using artificial intelligence. When Scott was hired by Berry Gordy to work for Motown in 1971, the couple relocated to Los Angeles, with Mitzi coordinating most of the cross-country logistics.

In retirement, Scott suffered a major stroke in 1987, which eventually caused severe financial hardship for the couple. Mitzi nursed Raymond almost singlehandedly in their Van Nuys home until his death in February 1994, at age 85. Shortly after her husband's death, Mitzi donated his extensive collection of over 3,000 personally recorded discs and tapes, covering his career from 1932-1987, to the Marr Sound Archives at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. She sold Raymond's no-longer functioning Electronium to Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh in 1996, amid a resurgence of interest in her late husband's music and legacy.

In 1997, Mitzi moved to Santa Clarita and joined a troupe of former professional dancers called the Gingersnaps.  She was active in several charitable organizations, including Mes Amis, the North Hollywood Women’s Club, the Women’s Canadian Club and the Hope is Forever Foundation (City of Hope), for which she served as an officer. She was a member of the Sages group at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

She was a passionate animal lover, and regularly took in stray dogs and cats, and adopted rescue animals. In 2007 the National Wildlife Federation designated her back yard as a certified wildlife habitat. She told the Santa Clarita Signal, "Everybody who has a backyard ought to take care of the wildlife. It's very soothing to look out your window and see butterflies and birds."

Mrs. Scott is survived by four stepchildren: Carrie Makover, Stan Warnow, Deborah Scott Studebaker, and Elizabeth Adams, as well as fourteen grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 22, 11:00 am, at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 24901 Orchard Village Road, Santa Clarita. A reception will follow in the church hall. The service is open to the public.

In lieu of cards and flowers, her family has requested that donations be made in the name of Mitzi Scott to City of Hope (via check payable to "Hope is Forever," mailed to Hope is Forever, c/o Chick Benveniste, 409 Meadows Drive, Glendale CA 91202), or online to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Monday, April 30, 2012

75 Years of Reckless Nights

On this date, 75 years ago, Raymond Scott returned to CBS studios with his Quintette for their second session to record "Reckless Night On Board An Ocean Liner." The tune was a hit when it was released in 1937, and is immortalized in the classic LOONEY TUNES, "Jumpin' Jupiter," "Hare Lift," and "Mouse Warming." It also serves as the soundtrack for this strange YouTube video by Silent Banana Theatre. ("Note: this film contains banana nudity and references to ambiguous fruit sexuality.") Download the vintage Columbia recording from the iTunes store, or Amazon — and see details about our year-long celebration of the 75th Anniversary here.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mail for Mrs. Raymond Scott

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that we report Raymond Scott's 93 year-old widow, Mitzi, is in the final stages of her battle with cancer. Receiving cards and letters means a lot to her — as Deb, Raymond's daughter says, "Mitzi really does live for the mail!" 

Please send cards and letters to:

Mitzi Scott
Summerhill Villa
24431 Lyons Avenue
Apt. 226
Santa Clarita, CA  91321

USA

We and the Scott/Warnow family appreciate your support and concern.


—Jeff Winner & Irwin Chusid,

The Raymond Scott Archives

Monday, April 09, 2012

Watch two new TV Spots with
Hugh Jackman and Stephen Fry

Two new television spots featuring Raymond Scott's music as their soundtracks have hit the air. Hugh Jackman stars in the ad above for Lipton Ice Tea with the 1938 classic "The Penguin," while Stephen Fry, Rupert Grint of "HARRY POTTER," Michelle Dockery, and Julie Walters are seen in the commercial below for British tourism, set to the 1939 tune, "In An 18th Century Drawing Room."

Sunday, April 08, 2012

"YOUR EASTER PARADE"

1956 newspaper:

"Bandleader Raymond Scott and his wife, singer Dorothy Collins, of television's 'Your Hit Parade' fame, give a preview of their Easter finery with their daughter, 2½ year-old Debbie, as they prepare in their Manhasset home to join tomorrow's Easter Parade in Nassau. The outlook is for sunny skies and mild weather tomorrow as thousands of Christians on Long Island prepare to attend special midnight and dawn services to celebrate the most joyous of all Christian holidays."

Happy day of technicolor hen-fruit

Sunday, April 01, 2012

April Fools' Day prank revealed

Last week, I made an audio discovery during a research mission to Santa Clarita, California. At the home of Mitzi Scott, Raymond's widow, I found a 15-inch tape reel in the garage that contains an electronic 1963 remake of Scott's '30s Quintette classic, "A Boy Scout In Switzerland." • Listen here:

April Fools' Day stunt revealed: Although I did make many discoveries during my recent research mission to Mitzi Scott's home, the track I uploaded yesterday was in fact created by composer, musician, and prankster, Ego Plum (the voice is me, Jeff Winner). The recording was commissioned for the forthcoming 2-CD compilation "SONGBOOK," produced by Takashi Okada. Ego explains his process — and apologizes to Moby (who tweeted it to his approx. 1.5 million followers) — here. Plum and Steve Bartek of Oingo Boingo are curating a concert at the Redcat theater in the Walt Disney Concert Hall to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Raymond Scott's music.