I was struggling to find any music that would do my mood this morning any good. What to play to lift the gloom of finding I’m living in a country that favours leaving over remaining, small-mindedness over an outgoing nature, selfishness over generosity? Then I alighted upon this. It’s perfect in so many ways.
For a start Stu Brown – drummer, leader, transcriber and arranger – is from a land which is more enlightened: Scotland. The music he chose to rework on Vol.1 of his Twisted Toons in 2009, that of Raymond Scott, is followed by this which covers Carl Stalling, Scott Bradley and others. These were the composers who wrote for cartoons, the Looney Tunes that accompanied Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, The Roadrunner et al. Brown extends his reworkings into more recent cartoon jazz, too, with an excerpt from Bill Frisell’s music for Tales From The Far Side.
He stays true to the original music while accentuating its jazz elements and sometimes giving more solo space to his expert band, which has Daniel Paterson on violin, Tom MacNiven on trumpet, slide trumpet and lap steel guitar, Emma Roche on flutes, Brian Molley and Martin Kershaw on saxophones and other woodwind, Paul Harrison on piano, Mario Caribé on double bass and Allan McKeown on guitar and ukulele.
I find it is easier to cope with the insidious idiocy of some of our politicians if I reduce their antics to cartoon capers, and this music encourages just that view. Then there is a tune which is a suitable send-off for a departing Prime Minister: Porky In Wackyland. And the pièce de résistance (hurrah for a few French words) is the inclusion in pianist Paul Harrison’s list of other instruments: “fart samples”. As I said, this album is perfect for today.
But, seriously folks, for a more considered response to the brilliance of Stu Brown’s Twisted Toons please read my review of the first volume. It’s HERE. All is transferable to this with the addendum that this is possibly even better. Go on, cheer yourselves up…
- Stu Brown’s Twisted Toons can be heard in live performance at Glasgow Jazz Festival today, at Doune The Rabbit Hole Festival on 19 August and at the Blue Lamp in Aberdeen on 11 December.
Categories: CD review