Monday, March 31, 2014

Postmodern Jukebox

Postmodern Jukebox is a collection of musicians led by Scott Bradlee. Their performances mostly consist of videos that they post on their YouTube channel, but they have recently released an album (entitled Postmodern Jukebox, available on both iTunes and Google Play). The kind of music that they play can generally be called jazz but with a slight modification. The songs that they perform are all arrangements of well-known pop tracks. When on their YouTube channel, ScottBradleeLovesYa, one can find that they have a New Orleans style "Sweeth Child O' Mine" by Guns N' Roses, a 1940s swing arrangement of Justin Bieber's "Beauty and a Beat," and even a 1930s arrangement of "Careless Whisper" by George Michael. In addition to their various jazz arrangements, they have also made Motown, doo wop, klezmer, R&B, ragtime, mariachi, and "sad clown" versions of other songs. The band consists of a core set of musicians along with some rotating members. The core performers are Scott Bradlee on piano, Adam Kubota on bass, Allan Mednard on drums, and most commonly Robyn Adele Anderson as the vocalist. The other members consist of a varying horn section (which can consist of any combination of clarinet, trumpet, and trombone), other guest vocalists (such as Puddles the clown) and guest musicians that perform based on whatever genre Postmodern Jukebox is attempting to emulate. This group all started when Scott Bradlee created a selection of songs with the same group of musicians called Motown Nickelback, in which the group performed Motown versions of famous Nickelback songs such as "How You Remind Me" and "Rockstar." The album was made in response to an internet petition to prevent Nickelback performing at the Detroit Lions' Thanksgiving Halftime Show in 2011. The album satisfied both Niceklback fans and opponents alike and has since been made an official album released the following year. Since then, the group has been featured on The Huffington Post, The Village Voice, The Vancouver Sun, and

Their music is, if anything, entertaining to both watch and listen to. Their videos commonly have some sort of visual gag in them like a constant disappearing and reappearing saxophonist, a seven foot clown, or an over-enthusiastic tambourine player. Their "alternate history of pop music" shows what might have been if these songs were produced in a different time. There arrangements give new light to songs that would have otherwise been simply labeled as "boring pop songs." This is most evident with their Motown versions of Nickelback. People who would refuse to listen to anything related to the infamous rock band now saw themselves enjoying the songs with only a slight change of genre. It really does show the stigma that some people have of certain songs based solely on who performed it or what genre they associate themselves with. Their most recent video on their YouTube account is a Klezmer version of Jason Derulo's "Talk Dirty" which features the core group along with David Wang on violin, Chip Thomas on drums, Jay Rattman on clarinet, and Kate Dunphy on accordion. In addition, the rap verse in the song (originally performed by 2 Chainz in English) is done completely in Yiddish to go along with their Klezmer theme. They also announce an upcoming tour at the end of the video.


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