Wolfgang's Big Night Out

Wolfgang's Big Night Out

by The Brian Setzer Orchestra
     
 

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If Brian Setzer is going to play the classics, then why wouldn't he approach them as he does every other style of music he's tackled, with wit and attitude? Welcome to a thoroughly delightful reconsideration of some classical benchmarks, done with raucous abandon but no lack of joie de vivre by Setzer and his all-stops-out Orchestra. In Setzer's hands, "Flight of the

Overview

If Brian Setzer is going to play the classics, then why wouldn't he approach them as he does every other style of music he's tackled, with wit and attitude? Welcome to a thoroughly delightful reconsideration of some classical benchmarks, done with raucous abandon but no lack of joie de vivre by Setzer and his all-stops-out Orchestra. In Setzer's hands, "Flight of the Bumblebee" is recast as "Honey Man" and becomes an occasion for the six-string maestro to demonstrate some truly jaw-dropping speed-picking as a flirty female chorus chants, "Busy, busy / busy is he-Go! Honey, honey / Sugar, sugar man-Go!" Composer Rimsky-Korsakov surely would approve. Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" gets a Latin makeover, opening with clacking castanets and clattering conga riffs before the orchestra swings it to the ballroom floor, paving the way for Setzer's rich hollow-body soloing, a mixture of chordal riffing and single-string punctuations. Despite its wise-guy title, "Some River in Europe," Setzer's take on Strauss's "Blue Danube" is a marvelously realized concept featuring a lush, romantic orchestral introduction, thoughtful single-string soloing from Setzer when the waltz gets into full swing, and a strutting middle section with Setzer and the orchestra double-timing it back into a swaying waltz coda. Rossini, Wagner, Beethoven ("Take the Fifth"), Grieg, Mozart, Offenbach, and Mendelssohn all find their works swinging mightily in these capable hands. In his howling, breakneck version of "Sabre Dance," Setzer pays double homage, to Armenian composer Armen Katchakurian and to Dave Edmonds, who memorably interpreted the same number with Love Sculpture back in the '70s; and on Beethoven's "Für Elise," we hear a rare Setzer acoustic guitar solo in a scintillating Hot Club of Paris rendition also featuring fiddle and clarinet. Great fun all around, this one.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Hal Horowitz
Brian Setzer reconvenes his big band for its first non-Christmas-related set since 2000's Vavoom! Here he rearranges well-known classical themes from Beethoven, Strauss, Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and others into Vegas-ized Rat Pack-era swing. It's a fun concept that buys the guitarist time by not having to compose new material, even though these arrangements, many of them quite complex, must have taken a while to construct. Setzer's well-received jump version of "The Nutcracker Suite" from 2002's Boogie Woogie Christmas probably got this ball rolling as Setzer digs the crazy classical beat with a dozen peppy selections that put his impressive guitar skills to use against finger-snapping horn charts. Song titles are slang for the original works ("Flight of the Bumble Bee" becomes "Honey Man," Strauss' "Blue Danube" is reworked into "Some River in Europe," etc.), telescoping the concept of each track. Setzer shifts styles to include jazzy guitar licks for his take on "1812 Overture" and, most creatively, a version of Beethoven's "Fur Elise" ("For Lisa") rearranged into an acoustic Django Reinhardt-styled European Gypsy hot swing number with clarinet and fiddle. Otherwise, it's a fizzy, brassy romp as Setzer dusts off and greases up some stodgy melodies, adding enthusiasm and energy to the proceedings. Some fall on the schlocky side of the bandstand, but that's also part of the charm. The James Bond reverbed guitar in "Take a Break Guys" ("God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen") and its "Caravan" approach of pounding drums are sharp and tight, with time and style changes goosing the charts as Setzer even brings a Clapton/Cream wah-wah psychedelicized kick to the action. Despite a few clichéd moments, this is a rousing success that only occasionally falls victim to its own jive impulses.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Karl Stark
This big-band recording is a crack-up.... Mozart, Beethoven and Wagner all get worked over into various states of boogaloo. The madcap endings are especially humorous. If this offends you, consider more roughage in the diet.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/25/2007
Label:
Surfdog Records Wea
UPC:
0640424999964
catalogNumber:
211388
Rank:
15902

Tracks

  1. Take the 5th, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after Beethoven's Sy
  2. One More Night with You, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after Gri
  3. Wolfgang's Big Night Out, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after Mo
  4. Honey Man, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after Rimsky-Korsakov's
  5. Yes We Can Can, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after the can-can
  6. Swingin' Willie, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after Rossini's "
  7. Sabre Dance, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after Khachaturian)
  8. For Lisa, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after Beethoven's "Für E
  9. Here Comes the Broad, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after the we
  10. 1812 Overdrive, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after Tchaikovsky'
  11. Some River in Europe, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after Straus
  12. Take a Break Guys, for electric guitar & jazz ensemble (after the Chris

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