It's hard to imagine anything more out of fashion than Van Dyke Parks' lavishly orchestrated, childlike, psychedelic panoramas. Parks was one of the odd geniuses staunchly supported by Warner Bros. executives in the late Sixties; others included Randy Newman and Ry Cooder. But after his debut album, the weirdo masterpiece Song Cycle, Parks just got stranger, recording albums of Caribbean songs (Discover America) and marginal demimuzak (The Clang of the Yankee Reaper). Although equally eccentric, Jump! harks back to Song Cycle. It, too, is a cycle of songs, this one based on The Complete Tales of Uncle Remus, apparently the score for a musical that doesn't exist yet.
Like Song Cycle (and Harry Nilsson's score for the movie Popeye, which Parks arranged), it employs an oddly familiar style of orchestration and instrumentation strings with banjo and harmonica, for instance, or French horn with mandolin. You have to wrack your brain until you realize you've heard it before in classic Disney movies. Although the aura of Jump! is extremely whimsical and has nothing to do with rock & roll, its lyrics are consistently literate and witty, the featured singers include Kathy Dalton and Jennifer Warnes (who make up for Parks' own rather thin tenor), and the music is undeniably beautiful a mind movie. (RS 418)
(Posted: Mar 29, 1984)
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Review 1 of 1
Fantastic stuff for the broadway crowd
Dec 5, 2005 12:48:14