"Don't Beat Your Wife (every night)" is the creation of Anders Alterskjaer Whist, as a tribute to Raymond Scott. Thanks to Musikk i Nordland County Council, the fabulous Mean Ensemble traveled from Norway to perform this tribute show for the first time in the USA, performing at the Baruch Performing Arts Center. They are the only band since Raymond's original 1930s Quintette to perform the maestro's tunes without reading sheet music - quite a feat, given the complexities of the arrangements. To add more authenticity to the recreation of the times circa Raymond Scott, they dressed in similar clothes of the era, some members smoked cigarettes on stage, and all wore glasses frames - even without lenses!
The Ed Wood of composers, Raymond Scott (1908 to 1994) was one of the most prolific and influential American composers, recording innovators and electronic instrument inventors of the 20th century. In his early jazz years, the Brooklyn-born Scott was known for his heavy hand as a bandleader, demanding succinct adherence to his complex orchestral arrangements, which were played by memory without sheet music. His signature “descriptive jazz style,” relied more on tight arrangements than improvisation.
A recording fanatic, Scott made futuristic compositions for television and radio commercials. His electronium is considered the first synthesizer. His compositions have also been used on The Simpsons Ren & Stimpy
, and in early Jim Henson projects.
The cast includes music director Havard Lund
on bass clarinet, Oivind Nussle
(violin), Johannes Skyberg
(viola), Hans-Urban Andersson
(cello and baritone saxophone), Hakan Henriksen
(double bass), Arnfinn Bergrabb
(percussion), Are Simonsen
(electronium and guitar), Lasse Rossing
(trumpet) and Ole Kristoffersen
Produced by Vibeke Forshaug, the Mean Ensemble excelled at performances of classics like Powerhouse!, In an 18th Century Drawing Room, The Penguin, War Dance for Wooden Indians, New Year's Even in a Haunted House and many more, and reminisce in commercials for products like Wrigleys, Conty Fair, Hostess Twinkies, Good Air, Light Works, and Society National.
For a reminder of the fun of the concert: http://youtu.be/AOrn17qeZg8
For more information: http://raymondscott.com/#7ed/blogger