Brian Woodbury
(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

Variety Orchestra (2004) , 6.5/10
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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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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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