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Variety Orchestra
     

Variety Orchestra

by Brian Woodbury
 
Pushing the play button after slipping Brian Woodbury's disc into the CD player is like stepping inside Pee-Wee's Playhouse. You never know what to expect or what the next bar will bring; everything is disguised in outrageous ways; even the most familiar objects adopt a warped shape. The first few seconds of "Take the J Train" might suggest an avant-garde jazz

Overview

Pushing the play button after slipping Brian Woodbury's disc into the CD player is like stepping inside Pee-Wee's Playhouse. You never know what to expect or what the next bar will bring; everything is disguised in outrageous ways; even the most familiar objects adopt a warped shape. The first few seconds of "Take the J Train" might suggest an avant-garde jazz big band, like a postmodern version of Duke Ellington's band, but soon the accordion comes in, then the banjo and the pedal steel, and you suddenly realize that you're not in Jazzland anymore. Woodbury seems to draw inspiration from everything within his vicinity: The Duke, Spike Jones, Charles Ives, John Zorn, Frank Zappa, traditional Mexican bands and Rock in Opposition. Every time a particular name comes to mind, a hitherto unheard element comes in, simply to contradict your impression. The music is often fast-paced, even frantic and exuberant. In the slower passages ("Mom," "Venice, Italy," the finale of "Threnody for Kennedy and Connally,"), the jazz leanings shine through, while the more complex sections immediately bring to mind Zappa's Grand Wazoo and Waka/Jawaka albums. Then again, try to compare Zappa to the mad Mexican polka of "Garbanzo Beans," or the flooring Caribbean-spiced rendition of "Shenandoah," a heartland American ballad. The cast of musicians is an impressive roll call of LA and NYC experimental sidemen (including Mark Feldman, Guy Klucevsek, and Frank London), but musicianship aside, what shines throughout the album is Woodbury's witty sense of humor and indubitable talent for writing intricate, whimsical music. Highly recommended if you believe that humor belongs in music.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/06/2004
Label:
Rer
UPC:
0752725018524
catalogNumber:
1

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Brian Woodbury   Primary Artist,Piano,Electric Bass,electronics
Marty Cutler   Banjo
Oren Bloedow   Bass,Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Guy Klucevsek   Accordion
Nick Ariondo   Accordion
Steve Elson   Saxophone,Baritone Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Wind
Mark Feldman   Violin,Soloist
Aaron Heick   Clarinet,Flute,Saxophone,Alto Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Wind
Kurt Hoffman   Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone,Wind
Dan Levine   Trombone,Bass Trombone
Frank London   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Elma Mayer   Organ,Piano,Keyboards,Vocals
Marc Muller   Banjo,Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar
Sue Williams   Bass,Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
David Witham   Piano,Keyboards,Piano (Upright)
Dana Friedli   Violin
Dan Morris   Drums
Bill Ruyle   Percussion
Kory Grossman   Percussion
Dudley Saunders   Vocals
Peter Lurye   Piano (Grand)
Jim O'Connor   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Conrad Korsch   Bass,Electric Bass,Acoustic Bass
Jonathan Feinberg   Percussion,Drums
Stephanie Courtney   Vocals
Kristina Kanders   Percussion
Sarah Parkins   Violin

Technical Credits

Elma Mayer   Cover Photo
Brian Woodbury   Arranger,Composer,Producer

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