Album Review: ‘Chandler Travis Philharmonic Blows!’
Do you think all philharmonics are classic and traditional? Think again.
The Chandler Travis Philharmonic is a nine piece ensemble of musicians out of Boston. With a name like Philharmonic, it would be easy to assume that they are a sophisticated bunch offering up strictly classic music. Well, think again. CTP’s most recently released album is called Chandler Travis Philharmonic Blows!
With a crazy title like that, expect the music and the members to follow suit. From photos on their website, you can see that they dress rather eccentrically and don’t seem to take themselves too seriously. Despite the humor however, they are accomplished musicians who are just inviting us to have fun along with them. CTP has a horn section, string bass, keyboard, a mandocello (a bigger version of a mandolin), guitar, drums, an accordion and singing valet – Fred Boak.
For the first track on their album, “Mid-Morning in Moscow,” you feel like you should be dancing or at least sipping a cocktail in a swanky supper club somewhere. This primarily instrumental piece has lots of sexy sounds from the clarinet, trombone, french horn and bass. It is one of my favorites as it represents all that is wonderful about jazzy, big band type music.
The rest of the album that follows is a scattered collection of songs from various genres that fall under their description as being “alternative Dixieland and omnipop.” Once I heard them sing, I likened it to combining Louis Armstrong’s All Stars with the musical humor of They Might Be Giants. It’s hard to anticipate exactly what to expect as you let the unique album play through, but I recommend just going along and enjoying the ride.
Here is an overview of the rest of the songs:
Track 2: “You and Me Pushing Up Daisies” has an Irish feel with amusing lyrics.
Track 3: “Graciously” is another personal favorite as it has upbeat jazz piano and a swinging beat.
Track 4: “All My Good Luck Is Gone” has a country feel and funny lyrics.
Track 5: “Fruit Bat Fun” Have you heard of the song by Duck Sauce “Barbra Streisand”? They just repeat Barbra Streisand and you wonder why. Well, during the catchy little rhythm in this song, “Fruit Bat” is repeated every so often resulting in nonsensical fun.
Track 6: “Anne” is another country feeling tune that also uses humor as most of their songs do.
Track 7: “Work It” takes a different twist as it captures some island rhythms.
Track 8: “The Day the Casuals Went to Sweden” tells a story as the song title suggests and sounds more like speaking in tune than singing.
Track 9: “Tomatohead Blues” is another instrumental song that utilizes great horn playing. Track 10: “The Number Song” sounds like a children’s music song that They Might Be Giants might have done.
Track 11: “Taoist vacation with Mashenka” has smooth jazz sounds with lots of sax.
Track 12: “Everything Can Go Wrong” is another jazzy track with plenty of bass as well as accordion accompaniment.
Though, “everything can go wrong,” Chandler Travis Philharmonic has definitely done something right on this fun, zany musical journey.