Kevin Breit | Folkalarm 5

Poverty Playlist • 10 Tracks 55 Min.

The Bremen Town Musicians
by Stanley Fefferman Oct. 2005
The opening tune, ”Used Car Charlie” has an infectious beat and a raucous raspy sax solo by Perry White who may be doing his best work to date on this disc. This one gets under your skin and you’re glad to hear it again and again. But the real winner is ”Fuller Brush Man”. Well, just see him loping along the street 40 years ago with his kit, knocking on door after door and going into his spiel. And that’s not all. Listen and you will hear in Breit’s mandolin, with that funky street music going oompah in 2/4 time in the background, Joseph Cotton pursuing Orson Wells through the streets of post war Vienna with “The Third Man Theme” playing in the background. Yes, and you might also think of Peter Seller’s in Alberto Broccoli’s “The Pink Panther.” If this tune doesn’t become a hit, there is no justice in the world.

What else? Juul Anderson has more fun on drums that anyone I’ve seen in a while, and not only on “Crazy Bastard” where he gets to sing out like Woody Woodpecker. Russell Boswell on bass fiddle makes his mark especially on “Junior Samples”. The other visitor to Folkalarm Five besides Perry White is Denis Keldie on accordion. His sound is so full and fat, and blended with Breit’s skinny mandolin, they are like Jack Sprat and his better half: between them they licked the platter klean. This is a brilliant, funny, good-natured, suite of compositions that will repay totally serious listening. Folkalarm Five seems to me a unified work, the equal of Zappa in it’s own way, and funny without Zappa’s mean mockery. Breit totally underplays his work, but like Jack Gleason’s “The Honeymooners”, this creation of Breit’s ought to become a classic.

If you don’t agree with me, think of this: what other jazz musician has enough cool to bring his CD release show at Hugh’s Room in Toronto to a climax with the words” Now it’s time for a polka”?

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Stanley Fefferman
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