The Ed Palermo Big Band: The Great Un-American Songbook Volumes I & II

Album review
The Ed Palermo Big Band: The Great Un-American Songbook Volumes I & II

The Ed Palermo Big Band

The Great Un-American Songbook

Label: Cuneiform
Media: CD
Genre: Jazz

Famous for his bent orchestrations of Zappa compositions, saxophonist/arranger Palermo here digs into 60s and 70s British Invasion and prog rock. The Beatles provide the bookends, “Good Morning Good Morning” opening CD 1 and “Good Night” ending CD 2. AM and FM radio classics—“Eleanor Rigby,” the Rolling Stones’ “We Love You,” Traffic’s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys,” Arthur Brown’s “Fire”—are outnumbered by deep album cuts such as the Move’s “Open Up Said the World at the Door,” Procol Harum’s “Wreck of the Hesperus,” Blodwyn Pig’s “Send Your Son to Die,” and Nicky Hopkins’ “Edward the Mad Shirt Grinder.” (Palermo also throws in a little Radiohead and Green Day-meets-Bernstein/Sondheim.) King Crimson fans will celebrate the juxtaposition of “Lark’s Tongue in Aspic, Part Two” and “21st Century Schizoid Man.” Anyone should be entertained by guitarist Bruce McDaniel’s uncanny vocal impersonations and in-character, comic, interstitial commentary, the powerhouse energy of the 18-piece EPBB, and the gripping soloists, most notably electric violinist Katie Jacoby. File with Sun Ra, Sex Mob, and Microscopic Septet in “fun jazz.” 

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  • primary artist, The Ed Palermo Big Band

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