That’s All, Folks

If you’ve ever watched a Looney Tunes cartoon, you’ve heard the music of Raymond Scott, though it’s not what he intended: Famous for its over-the-top, trippy, screw-loose vibe, the composer’s repertoire was never actually written with cartoons in mind. We can thank Warner Bros. music director Carl Stalling for making that connection, when he used Scott’s back catalogue to wind up the wacky antics of Bugs Bunny and cohorts on screen. More recently, John Kricfalusi used Scott’s music in a dozen Ren and Stimpy episodes, the point being that most of us first heard his wild compositions in the cartoons, including violinist Enion Pelta-Tiller of the group TAARKA, who, with help from banjo player Jake Schepps of the Expedition Quartet, rounded up a local combo to play Scott’s frenetic fugues.

"I’ve been into Raymond Scott’s music for a while; I was introduced to it by my dad,” Pelta-Tiller says. “For the time when it was being written, it was incredibly progressive,” she adds, noting that Scott’s orchestrations, which freely incorporate classical and jazz elements to incredible ends, were clearly ahead of their time and still a joy to play. “So,” she continues, “I threw it out there one day to Jake. He went for it.” From there, they obtained some Scott scores and endeavored to arrange the tunes for an eclectic band utilizing accordion, Pelta-Tiller’s five-string violin, banjo, drums and bass — basically, she quips, “the instruments that have the most jokes made about them.” And it’s a different kind of instrumentation, she believes, from any that has been used to take on the devilish challenges of Scott’s raucous sound: “Nobody’s used a banjo before that I know of.”

See and hear Pelta-Tiller and friends rage tonight when they present Dinner With a Pack of Hungry Cannibals: The Music of Raymond Scott, at 7 p.m. at Dazzle, 930 Lincoln Street. Admission is $10; go to www.dazzlejazz.com or call 303-839-5100.
Sun., June 12, 8 p.m., 2011

 
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