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Brian Woodbury, Variety Orchestra

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Brian Woodbury, Variety Orchestra CD cover artwork

Brian Woodbury, Variety Orchestra

Audio CD

Disk ID: 1111901

Disk length: 44m 46s (8 Tracks)

Original Release Date: 2004

Label: Unknown

View all albums by Brian Woodbury...

“Variety Orchestra” Tracks & Durations

1. Take the J Train 5:26
2. Mom 4:33
3. Garbanzo Beans 3:45
4. Venice, Italy 8:50
5. Jesus Christ Alrighty 4:38
6. Long May She Wave 6:21
7. Threnody for Kennedy and Connally 5:28
8. Innsbruck 5:40

Note: The information about “Variety Orchestra” album is acquired from the publicly available resources and we are not responsible for their accuracy.


Brian Woodbury's "Variety Orchestra" is a sparkling new CD of melodic post-modern jazz compositions. The music is built around a one-of-a-kind line-up combining a driving jazz rhythm section, Latin and Big Band horns, and the down-home Americana of pedal steel, banjo, fiddles & accordion. This mix is peppered with tabla, new music violin, tone rows, NYC bar band, Satchmo cornet growls, and a 15th century brass chorale.

The CD features phenomenal players from both coasts - a who's who from New York's downtown and LA's experimental music scenes: violins - Mark Feldman (Arcado String Trio, Dave Douglas) & Sarah Parkins (Zeena Parkins, Grammy-winning Angeles Quartet); pedal steel and banjo - Marc Muller (Karen Mantler, Shania Twain); trumpet - Frank London (John Zorn, Klezmatics); woodwinds - Aaron Heick (Chaka Khan), Steve Elson (Borneo Horns, David Bowie), Will Connell (Charles Mingus) & Kurt Hoffman (The Ordinaires); bass - Conrad Korsch (Billy Joel) & Oren Bloedow (Jewel); drums - Dan Morris (Rufus Wainwright, James Carney) & Jonathan Feinberg (They Might Be Giants); vibes - Michael Webster (Tracy Chapman); and accordions - Guy Klucevsek (Anthony Braxton, Fred Frith) & Nick Ariondo ("brilliant" - Zubin Mehta).

From the off-kilter Rova-esque sax riff of opener "Take The J Train" through a tabla-propelled minimalist downtown hocket ("Mom") to the drunken trumpets of the Baroque Mexican polka "Garbanzo Beans," there is a thread of whimsy. Yet the music is not afraid of beauty....

There is grandiosity too: "Venice, Italy," a programmatic (Latin) American in Venice (including a Bridge of Size); "Long May She Wave" brings to mind prog rock and Frank Zappa's Grand Wazoo; "Threnody for Kennedy and Connally" reflects the JFK assassination through a history of 20th Century jazz, with homages to Louis Armstrong, the Andrews Sisters, Thelonious Monk and Carla Bley; Newgrass goes Carribbean with "Shenandoah/Innsbruck," a pairing of the traditional American ballad and a Renaissance vocal piece sung with Appalachian minstrelsy by Dudley Saunders.