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Raymond Scott Orchestrette: Pushbutton Parfait

Bugs, Daffy, Yosemite Sam: They were down with Raymond Scott. When all delicious hell needed to break loose in the Looney Tunes universe, the cartoon wizards at Warner Bros. often headed for the delirious Scott songbook to soundtrack the mayhem. Control-freak Scott’s talented quintet was rarely allowed to improvise, but his musicians’ playful spirit and tireless oomph were just about perfect for accident-prone animals who wore pants. Piano keys pitter-patted like bunny feet, frenzied drums were the heavy steps of the dum-dum hunter right behind him-and an exaggerated stretch of the accordion (bwowow!) was cued when one or both of the krazee komics slammed into a wall. Indeed, a frying pan to the face just wouldn’t have been the same without Scott, who died in 1994, at the age of 85. God bless him.

So, with the Cartoon Network currently using Scott’s hustle-bustle “Powerhouse” as a promotional theme-and with recent ‘toons such as Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons and Animaniacs paying homage to the great composer with frequent snippets of songs-Scott aficionado Irwin Chusid wisely thought it time to form a tribute band. On Pushbutton Parfait, producer Chusid leads the seven-piece Raymond Scott Orchestrette through some of the late, great man’s most inspired gems, including you’ll-know-’em numbers “Twilight in Turkey” and “The Penguin.” It’ll be hard not to grin wide and long at these faithful, energetic renditions, and it’ll be even harder to keep the colorful, cartoon mayhem outta your head. Also, the next time you hear The Simpsons’ scurrying theme or watch any Tim Burton movie, listen to composer Danny Elfman’s bouncy, manic score, and you’ll know exactly who inspired him. And for goodness’ sake, watch out for that frying pan!

Originally Published