Brian Woodbury, a Los-Angeles based songwriter, debuted with the convoluted
songs of And His Popular Music Group (Fang, 1992).
The Variety Orchestra (ReR, 2004) is supposed to be some kind of jazz
orchestra, but Take The J Train opens the proceedings with a folk
melody, although admittedly a chaotic one, slowly secreted by different
contributions from baritone saxophone,
steel guitar and banjo, and replete with "um-pa-pa" rhythms and
horn fanfares that indulge in minimalist repetition.
Mom transitions from pensive adagio to mechanical scherzo to
Broadway show-tune to elaborate Michael Nyman-esque pattern.
Long May She Wave is an exercise in minimalist counterpoint,
mutating into a feverish charleston dance and other old-fashioned dances.
There is even less jazz in the tex-mex novelty Garbanzo Beans.
Venice Italy begins as a square dance and then takes a detour among
the Caribbean orchestras of the 1930s.
Threnody For Kennedy And Connally is another tribute to the big-bands
of that era, and finally one hears some jazz, although the piece soon breaks
down into discordant piano chords and assorted chamber doodling before
reassembling as a moving melody.
The bluesy Jesus Christ Alrighty rises in a groovy gospel-like
fervor and unleashes a roaring tenor-sax melody.
Unpredictable and carefully orchestrated, this album is the product of
an erudite mind.
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