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Somewhere, Tom Waits is smiling. His vision of the amalgamation of the cabaret, circus and hipster is fully realized in the small big band known as Saint Dirt Elementary School on Ice Cream Man Dreams. The title track rolls in as a squeaky child's song of twisted sentiments and wonky melody. Its circus mayhem is subterfuge for some top-shelf music making.
The nine-piece ensemble realizes composer/guitarist Myk Freedman's writing with ease. Like a Raymond Scott title, the seemingly simple constructs are actually quite complex in performance. The future cartoon music here is definitely for an adult crowd though.
The 14 tracks are a sort of film score to a romantic comedy, one with plenty of pratfalls and love-lost and love-lost again moments. With hints of Nino Rota and the innocence of Bill Frisell, Freedman's compositions are realized by Jake Oelrichs' glockenspiel, Tania Gill's melodica, and Julia Hambleton's clarinet, alongside the off-kilter saxophones of Kai Koschmider and Evans Bradshaw.
Freedman's lap steel guitar contributes to the eerie sounds of the "Unnameable Dance," a sort of Eastern European start/stop dervish with squeaky joints. But don't ask why. The demons lurk with more tweet than squeak on "My Future's In The Air," a perfect soundtrack for the bumbling Inspector Clouseau to stumble around to. Now Henry Mancini is smiling somewhere too.
The record is packed full of pure joy.
Track Listing: Ice Cream Man Dreams; Clicking With the Clique; My Future's in the Air; He Looks Just Like
Her (and she thinks he's beautiful); Riverbank Manager; Bear Wrestler; Unnameable Dance;
Sparrow; My Children's Song; I Am Trapped On A Ship That Has Already Sunk; To Be Whistled
in the Rain Forest; Poppy; Murder Ballad; She's Not My Girlfriend (my girlfriend's normal).
Personnel: Wes Cheang: acoustic guitar; Ryan Driver: analog synthesizer; Myk Freedman: lap steel
guitar; Tania Gill: piano, melodica; Julia Hambleton: clarinet; Kai Koschmider: alto
saxophone; Jake Oelrichs: drums, glockenspiel; Mike Overton: bass; Evan Shaw: alto
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach. I fell in love with it. I wondered around until the owner (Pedro Soto) asked if I needed help. He then introduced me to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan and the rest is history. I walked out of the store with my first jazz recording: Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street.