Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Scott Collage No. 1

A Raymond Scott sound "collage," that is. A collage made up of cross-faded sound clips, all of them Scott-esque but none of them (Irony Alert) by Scott. Most were recorded prior to Scott's quintet recordings, save for one (and, possibly, two--I have yet to establish the year for an Alec Templeton clip).

Scott, of course, was "One of The Most Influential Musicians of The 20th Century," at least according to the yellow sticker on the CD case of Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights, a remastered version of a 1992 Scott quintet comp. To the right of the yellow sticker is a blue paste-on with red lettering that reads, "Best Value." So, maybe Scott was a best value, as well as one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. We can't be sure.

Actually, I should be typing stuff like, "If you don't know who Raymond Scott is, you've been living on (name of other planet)." If I wanted to be like everyone else. However, I know people on Earth who haven't heard of the guy, so I won't say that. Anyway, Scott was a writer of "descriptive jazz" that sounded uncannily like much of the other light concert stuff that composers like Ferde Grofe, Alec Templeton, Morton Gould, and Duke Ellington were producing. You probably won't hear that anywhere else, because the extollers of Scott, as a rule, spend little time on musical perspective, preferring instead to focus on who-did-and-said-what details. It's a common music-journalism ploy: claim special, unique status for someone's art, then spend the rest of one's essay focusing on the artist and his work and nothing but. Such an approach creates the illusion that a point has been made and supported, when, in fact, nothing has been proven. Asserted, yes, but not proven.

I refer not to the idea that Scott was a great composer--this is an opinion, after all, and therefore neither true nor false. However, the assertion that Scott's quintet music was utterly unlike anyone else's is quite specific, in that it is either historically accurate or historically incorrect. Scott Collage No. 1 should aid us in testing that claim:

Scott Collage No. 1 (Cross-faded sound clips dating from the early 1920s to circa 1940.)

More Scott-related posts at my Music You (Possibly) Won't Hear Anyplace Else blog, including a sound file of Morton Gould's 1938 piano novelty, Deserted Ballroom.



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