The music of the Gove County Philharmonic, a seven piece chamber ensemble, reminds me of a scene from the film Fight Club. In it, Brad Pitt works as a movie projectionist in children’s theatre. He splices split-second violent and pornographic images into the movie so they only appear in the subconscious mind of the viewer. While the sweet fairy tale movie plays out, the children cry and scream out for seemingly no apparent reason.
Composer, arranger, and bassist Jim Connolly chose also to dabble in a bit of culture jamming. His music, a throwback to a folksy Charles Ives and the Americana of Aaron Copeland, is cloaked in a faux-naivete by design. It’s the difference between Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons of the mid-1940s. Disney made cartoons for children, while Bugs and Elmer Fudd were adult insider jokes masquerading as kiddy animation. Connolly makes not so much cartoon music, as puppet soundtracks.
The disc opens with “Satan’s Square-Dancing Monkey,” a rollicking theme that is repeated throughout. Ron McCarley’s clarinet and Jeff Kaiser’s trumpet mix it up with the accordion/violin/viola arrangements, making for user friendly music. The fidgeting starts when the band expands this concept by playing with the themes. Sweetness is tempered with the oddball sounds these instruments are apt to make. Like their previous disc, “The Circus Doesn’t Stop At Gove” Connolly employs Kaiser to play a Raymond Scott-inspired trumpet. The music climbs the stairs, then the chase come back down.
Interspersed in between the frolic are sweet interludes by the band and also chamber duets of violin and cello by guests Laura Hackstein and Misha Bodnar. Their “Act I,” “Act II,” and “Act III” are the interlude music between the punch and jazzy show.
Another wonderful disc by the euphoniously eccentric Connolly.