Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Oranj Symphonette Plays Mancini"

"Free Improvisation is a lot of fun for the musicians, but it has a tendency to leave the audience in the dust. However, when your original reference point is as well known as, say, 'The Pink Panther Theme', you don't lose people on the ride. There is a long jazz tradition of re-working popular songs into vehicles for improvisation. This band just gets its material from some unusual sources."- Matt Brubeck

There have been numerous tributes to the music of Henry Mancini, but none have been half as zany as this Oranj Symphonette release from 1996.

Cellist/bassist Matt Brubeck (the band's leader and son of jazz legend Dave Brubeck) met guitarist Joe Gore and Ralph Carney (sax, trombone and slide clarinet) while recording the Tom Waits soundtrack album for the film Night On Earth in the early 1990's.
In 1993 they became a group with the addition of drummer Scott Amendola and began playing in the San Francisco area on a part-time basis the following year with their main purpose being to reinvent Henry Mancini songs. With Pete Scaturro added on organ and Diarmid contributing zither playing and bird calls, the band tears apart a dozen Mancini tunes on their frequently hilarious debut album.

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