Sunday, November 3, 2013

RHR Music on Boardwalk Empire!!

We are very excited to announce that some of our music will be featured in an episode of Boardwalk Empire, airing on November 3, 2013. That's tonight! It is a recording of the tune "I'm Through With You," written by our clarinet player Janelle Reichman, and performed as a solo piano piece by our piano player, Chris Johnson. It was engineered by our trombone player, Chris Cortier, and recorded at Jalopy Theatre. A family affair!

You can hear the song in the background of a scene where Chalky speaks to his daughter about an incident with the Doctor. If you like what you hear, you're in luck! We have decided to release some of the songs from that session as an album! Check it out here:
We'd like to give special thanks to Jane Kratochvil for the amazing cover photo.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Live Performance of Beck's Song Reader

On February 28th, we are performing Beck's Song Reader at The Knitting Factory Brooklyn.  As Beck has no present plans to record the songs or tour behind them, this is a rare chance for fans to hear his new songs completely arranged with a band. But we aren't doing this for his fans alone - Song Reader and the Red Hook Ramblers go well together (more on that below). This will be a fun show for everyone. It's gonna rock, it's gonna do a lot of things.  Get ready for slammin' robo-funk, country-swing, heart-aching ballads, dixieland, noise, and much more.  Special guest singers include Shilpa Ray, Erika Spring (Au Revoir Simone), and Corn Mo.  The opening band, our good friends Bombay Rickey - not to be missed - are a walking Beck dream in themselves.

Song Reader is a very diverse collection of music and art. Released in December, 2012 by McSweeney's, it gorgeously presents Beck's 20 sheet-music songs inspired by an early era in the music industry. When recording technology was non-existent and then in its infancy, sales of sheet  music created popular songs and styles, from Stephen Foster's beginnings of musical Americana to the spread of ragtime around 1900, and then mainstream jazz in the '20s and '30s. Hit song sheets could make publishers rich - sales of "After the Ball" in 1891 exceeded five million. Publication of "St. Louis Blues" in 1914 launched blues into the hit parade, and a new dance craze. Beck has stated that Bing Crosby's sheet music for Sweet Leilani was one spark that helped light the Song Reader fire. But he has also stated that this is not an exercise in nostalgia.  Indeed, a band like ours can't easily swing most of Beck's new songs like we can with most every song from the original sheet music era - they have a completely modern flavor. He is a contemporary musician simply working in the medium of sheet music here, mixing in early Americana with his songwriting style as only Beck can.

So in playing the Song Reader tunes, the most fun and most challenging aspect has been the question of interpretation: how should these songs be presented? It has inspired us to dig deep into our band's collective and individual wells of influence and skill.  In our burlesque performances, original songs and film scores, we've hinted at our affinity for punk rock, surf, psychedelia, exotica, latin rhythms, soul, gospel, country-western, analog synths and more, but with Song Reader we get to indulge those fancies.  Since our band has been a working trad jazz band for years, steeped in the era Beck has dipped into, interpreting, improvising and going about the business of "jazz" quite irreverently, we feel well suited to - and inspired by - this concert. Along with our trumpet, trombone, tuba, clarinet and banjo, out come the electric guitar, the synthesizer, the sampler, the lap steel guitar and ukulele, the hot saxophone, the full drum kit.

Among Beck fans and critics, there has been some confusion about what to make of Song Reader, as it has no precedent. Can it be considered an album in the modern sense? How are the songs to be heard if one is not able to read and perform written music? One of our goals with this concert is to provide a faithful rendering of the songs, allowing all the melodies, harmonies, lyrics, and rhythms indicated by Beck to be heard. Our pianist, Chris Johnson, will be playing the exact piano parts to most of the songs. Our arrangements, instrumentations, and interpretation of style are original. We feel that the album is one of his finest collections of songs - on a par with Mutations and Sea Change and should certainly be weighed with the same consideration as any of his recorded work. It runs a huge gamut of feelings: funny, cryptic, emotionally naked, ferocious, wistful, sometimes all within one song. Come listen and judge for yourself, but you may just wind up dancing instead.
Right now, the February 28th show is the only performance we plan to do, so don't hesitate - get a ticket now!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

"Love & Marriage" Silent Film Spectacular Sunday

Summer is here, birds are singing, bees are buzzing - a good time to celebrate "Love & Marriage" at the Silent Film Spectacular this Sunday, June 24th.  Who better to explore the ups and downs of romance than Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, and Harry Langdon?  We're presenting an original hot jazz score to their classic two-reels in the cool comfort of Jalopy Theatre.  Click here to purchase a $10 ticket from the Jalopy website.
This event has been selected as a Critics' Pick in Time Out NY this week!

If you've never seen Buster Keaton's "One Week" (1920), you are missing out on what most fans consider his very best short comedy. Keaton and his newlywed bride attempt to build an ideal lovenest, but it all goes awry when a jealous ex-lover tampers with their plans. As usual with Keaton, this two-reel is loaded with astounding acrobatics and big laughs, and this one features an extra helping of surprises.

"Bliss" (1917) is one of Harold Lloyd's first comedies to feature his "glasses" character, and it full of great knockabout slapstick. After "love at first sight," Lloyd must survive a treacherous meeting with his new in-laws, including a violently overprotective father.

Harry Langdon plays a henpecked husband in "Saturday Afternoon" (1926) who is tempted into having an affair, but finds himself in a mess of trouble from which only his wife can save him.  If you've never seen a Langdon film, this 20-minute film is a great place to start.  His fame was a rival to Chaplin in the '20s, much more understated than his peers, and still hilarious today.

Great fun for all ages and and each film is only 20 minutes long, so you'll be able to dip into Jalopy's fine selection of beverages during the breaks, and the evening will conclude with us performing a set of original tunes.  Joining us on clarinet and sax is Jeff Hudgins, and Ben Stapp on tuba.
Click here to purchase a ticket.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jazz at Lincoln Center!

We're very excited to announce that we have been selected by Jazz at Lincoln Center to kick off both nights of their New Orleans Celebration, on May 11th and 12th 2012! We'll be playing free, open-to-the-public pre-concert celebrations before both shows each night. with two sets per night from 6:30 to 8:00 and 8:45 to 9:30.
The other concerts that night are an evening of the Music of Jelly Roll Morton, featuring an octet led by Marcus Roberts, and a summit of New Orleans Piano Kings, featuring Ellis Marsalis, Henry Butler, and Jonathan Batiste.

This will be a great night of New Orleans music, and we are honored and excited to be a part of it! Hope to see you at the shows!

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Less silence, more silents!

We hear you New York! You love classic comedies with our live soundtracks. You've been jam-packing every one of the Silent Film Spectaculars at Jalopy Theatre with smiles and laughter, and you've asked for more. So this week Thursday, April 19th, catch a new installment of classic comedy two-reelers with our original jazzy score. Click here to purchase a $10 ticket on Jalopy's website.

We had such a hoot with Laurel & Hardy's "Big Business," that we've paired with them again on "Liberty" (1929). While on the lam, the duo get their pants mismatched and, in an effort to get properly dressed, wind up dangling high above the city. 'Nuff said.

"Fiddlesticks" (1927) is our first collaboration with Harry Langdon, and a very promising start. Harry wants nothing more than to be a successful musician, but finds in this film that resourcefulness is more important than any music degree can confer. So true! We're happy to have Lloyd Miller from the Deedle Deedle Dees joining us for this show and playing Harry's actual bass part!

For our third film, we are bringing back one of our favorites, Buster Keaton's "The Playhouse" (1921), which we premiered at our first Spectacular, a year ago. We've seen a lot of silent comedies, and there is not a single one quite like this film. In an age where film technology was rather limited, Buster was able to achieve a number of astounding effects here, AND deliver all the comedy that made him a star.

As always, this show is suitable for all ages, and each film is only 20 minutes long, so you'll be able to dip into Jalopy's fine selection of beverages during the breaks, and the evening will conclude with us performing a short set of original tunes and standards.

These shows always sell-out, so get your ticket now! Still ONLY $10! Click here to purchase a ticket on Jalopy Theatre's website.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Critics' Pick of the Week, hey hey!

Thanks, TimeOut NY, for making our show this Sunday the 19th at Jalopy Theatre the #3 Critics' Pick of the Week!

They say: "Making the depths of February seem like a good thing, this old-timey jazz band accompanies silent movie shorts in a cozy space."

We also made the front page of the Time Out New York website! Here's a screen grab for posterity.

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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Did you see us on Four Weddings?

Hello from TV land! This month we made an appearance on the TLC show, Four Weddings. One of the competing brides held her wedding reception in New York's Downtown Association and hired us to kick up her cocktail party with hot jazz. The music got the bride big points for originality, class and fun. To quote one of the judges: "My number one highlight from the cocktail hour was the jazz band. It really got everyone moving, brought a great energy." Watch this clip and see for yourself! (As you'll notice, we lead the entire reception up the stairs to the dinner. Our mobility is a popular attraction to wedding couples, as we can lead ceremonies to receptions, receptions to dinners, etc.)

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