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The Music of Raymond Scott - Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights

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Album Review

The name may not be immediately familiar, but the music itself certainly is; to anyone weaned on the legendary Warner Bros. cartoons of the 1940s and 1950s, Raymond Scott's deliriously inventive freak jazz is the soundtrack of childhood, with each and every note capable of conjuring up indelible images of such immortal characters as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, and Daffy Duck. The WB connection is both Scott's greatest legacy and his greatest curse, however; he never composed a note specifically for cartoons, and his most memorable and distinctive melodies were actually co-opted for animated use by Warner's brilliant music director, Carl Stalling. Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights, then, restores Scott's work to its original, stand-alone setting, confirming his cult reputation as one of the most innovative and original musical thinkers of his era. Even free of cartoon mayhem, his music is remarkably visual and colorful, perfectly evocative of such surreal titles as "Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals" and "War Dance for Wooden Indians"; probably the best-known cut here is the opening "Powerhouse," a uniquely mechanized piece used in any number of cartoons and television commercials and a perfect summation of Scott's intricate arrangments, complex shifting rhythms, and formal lunacy. Recommended for listeners ages eight to 80.

Customer Reviews

Not just Looney Tunes

If you're a big fan of Ren and Stimpy or Spumco cartoons, you'll also recognize a lot of this music from various episodes - basically every time a jazz piece was used on that show, it was from this collection. Hilarious stuff! Definitely worth downloading.

This is the guy!

I attended the Disney Institute Animation Event in 1999. The guests and I attending, in groups of 10, each made an animated short about the upcoming Y2K scare. When we saw all the animated shorts together, they had some quirky, cartoony jazz playing in the background. THIS IS THE GUY! RAYMOND SCOTT!! The pieces they used, the I can remember, were "Powerhouse" and "New Years Eve In a Haunted House." They fit the theme of the show perfectly.


Born: September 10, 1908 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Composer, bandleader, and inventor Raymond Scott was among the unheralded pioneers of contemporary experimental music, a figure whose genius and influence have seeped almost subliminally into the mass cultural consciousness. As a visionary whose name is largely unknown but whose music is immediately recognizable, Scott's was a career stuffed with contradictions: though his early work anticipated the breathless invention of bebop, his obsession with perfectionism and memorization was the very antithesis...
Full Bio

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