THE CHANDLER TRAVIS PHILHARMONIC
“Let’s Have a Pancake!”
It seems that Chandler Travis, best remembered, if remembered at all, for his cheery stints with Travis Shook and the Incredible Casuals, has finally stumbled upon his true calling: big bandleader. Granted, his eight-piece Philharmonic isn’t big in size so much as it is big in sound and spirit, realms in which size really does matters.
On “Let’s Have a Pancake,” Travis plays frontman to a joyous band of horn-powered noisemakers who merrily skirt along the fringes of pop and jazz and occasionally indulge in enough New Orleans polyphony to warrant the title “world’s only alternative Dixieland band.” It’s not surprising that NRBQ vets Terry Adams and Al Anderson contribute to the party, but even when left to its own pop vices, the Philharmonic delivers a blaring and rambunctious good time, thanks in part to multi-instrumentalist Dinty Child, drummer Rikki Bates and trumpeter Keiichi Hashimoto.
Orchestrating every mood, though, is Travis, with his engagingly old-fashioned and tuneful croon, his amusing tales of misadventures (“That’s What She Said”), his alternately wry and sentimental lyrics (“Stay Like That”) and his knack for making lighthearted music seem impossible to dismiss or resist. “Pancake” ultimately leaves you wishing for extra helpings and the chance to hear the Philharmonic in concert.
— Mike Joyce