Friday, September 10, 2010

And This Blog Loves Visionary Composer Raymond Scott: Happy 102nd, Ray!

The 20th Century was graced by many musical innovators, and among the most fascinating of them was Raymond Scott. While I am way too damn lazy to write a blog, and thus, two years late to celebrate Scott's centenary, today's entry toasts his lengthy, restlessly creative, varied and one-of-a-kind career as composer, bandleader, arranger, orchestra conductor and inventor of such electronic instruments as the Electronium.

The striking original compositions performed by his 1930's ensemble, The Raymond Scott Quintette, were eventually licensed by Warner Brothers for use in their cartoons.

The Raymond Scott Quintette

Stamped in the collective consciousness via the six minute masterpieces directed by Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Frank Tashlin, Chuck Jones, Robert McKimson and Art Davis (among other animation luminaries), these amazing songs are available on the Restless Nights And Turkish Twilights and Microphone Music CDs.

Raymond Scott's contributions to Carl Stalling's inspired soundtracks for Looney Tunes And Merrie Melodies were just one accomplishment from a career spanning four decades.

There's a documentary, Deconstructing Dad: The Music, Machines And Mystery Of Raymond Scott, produced by his son, Stan Warnow, that I'd love to see on the big screen and own a DVD copy of. Here is the official website and the trailer.

For additional sources of information about Raymond Scott's life and career:

We close with "Lightworks" from the Manhattan Research, Inc. album, with Dorothy Collins on vocals and Raymond playing electronic instruments he designed, and the electronic music composition, "Little Miss Echo" (which makes me wonder if Brian Eno and Pere Ubu's Allen Ravenstine were fans of Scott's early synth work).

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