Raymond Scott: The Penguin


The Penguin


Raymond Scott (piano)


Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights (Columbia/Legacy 65672)

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Raymond Scott (piano),

Dave Wade (trumpet), Pete Pumiglio (clarinet), Dave Harris (tenor sax), Ted Harkins (bass), Johnny Williams (drums)


Composed by Raymond Scott


Recorded: New York, December 20, 1937


Rating: 97/100 (learn more)

Being as flightless as an ostrich, and by comparison a clumsy walker, doesn't deter the Emperor Penguin from maintaining the dignity of a headwaiter whilst wintering in Antarctica. Here one poses imperially for a portrait by the 1930s master of musical obscurantism, Raymond Scott—no kin to British polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott. (Obviously, Falcon's a bird of a different feather.) Some listeners mistake Scott's jagged syncopations and goofy disjointedness for a joke. Yet like a tipsy penguin teetering on ice skates, Scott gets where he intended, and in so doing makes the adventure as endearingly loopy as . . . well, an Emperor Penguin.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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