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David Bagsby - Happy Hour for a Pack of Screaming Monkeys - The Music of Raymond Scott CD (album) cover

HAPPY HOUR FOR A PACK OF SCREAMING MONKEYS - THE MUSIC OF RAYMOND SCOTT

David Bagsby

 

Eclectic Prog

3.00 | 1 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Atavachron
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Saying Raymond Scott was innovative is like saying Muhammad Ali was good with his fists or that Marilyn Monroe was voluptuous. There is little doubt on the matter.

An engineer whose skills in electronics would lead him to musical composition and mechanical invention, Scott was encouraged by his brother to attend the Institute of Musical Arts (which became Julliard) where he graduated in 1931, later developing a style he called "descriptive jazz" with a reduced reliance on improvisation-- Blom&Winner note; "Scott sought to master all aspects of sound-capture and manipulation. His special interest in the technical aspects of recording, combined with the state-of-the-art facilities at his disposal, provided him with enormous hands-on experience as an engineer."

In 1943, Raymond Scott sold his publishing rights to Warner which often quoted his work in their classic cartoons (where he gained the incorrect image of cartoon-music composer), and in '46 he founded Manhattan Research toward experimenting on a large scale using inventions of his as the Electronium [considered the first self-composing synthesizer] and Clavivox. Scott would record a slew of early electronic music when Edgar Froese and Brian Eno were still playing with tape recorders, and would later head the Electronic Research division at Motown. It is this vast and important legacy that keyboardist David Bagsby has sought to capture and with a little help from some very impressive friends - including Ron Jarzombek and Kurt Rongey - he did us all a great favor by preserving Ray Scott's work while reinterpreting it for a new audience. And it's a kick-and-a-half.

Many will instantly know some of this work from any number of sources that continue to borrow from Mr. Scott's brilliant catalog, including cartoons new & old (and of course Rush's rock version on a certain Hemispheres cut). But it is the range and totality of the work here that really shines a light on the contributions Raymond Scott made to 20th century music. And leave it to Prog musicians to do it right. A furious bass ground establishes the timeless 'Powerhouse' with all its industrial monikers and factory output, thud-thudding through bells, cranks & whistles, swinging up next with the Hawaiian guitars of 'Businessmans Bounce'. Ron Jarzombek's stinging contribution 'Celebration on the Planet Mars' follows, a wonderland of shred-osity and thick layers of guitar joy, and an absolute must for Jarz fans. Mad organ work for 'The Sleepwalker' as it teeters on a highwire, dazzling the audience with alacrity, and Kurt Rongey's prog take on 'Oil Gusher' is great fun. A rousing 'War Dance For Wooden Indians' from Kevin Leonard; terrific contagion of 'The Penguin' by our host; 'Twilight in Turkey's techy club beats; very cool prog/fusion in 'Kodachrome'; and not-quite-right bounce of 'Huckleberry Duck' by Bagsby/Rongey. 'New Years Eve in a Haunted House' sports some rippin' freejazz, ending with the Satriani rhythms of 'Steeplechase'.

Not to be confused with David Bagsby's other, more traditional progrock and electronic releases, Happy Hour for a Pack of Screaming Monkey's was a labor of love in a different arena, one of past glory and unrequited creation for a great American composer, inventor and innovator.

Atavachron | 3/5 |

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