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Deconstructing Dad

from The NY Times

An Artist and Inventor Whose Medium Was Sound

‘Deconstructing Dad’ Recalls Raymond Scott, Musical Inventor

By STEPHEN HOLDEN

CAVU Pictures

“Deconstructing Dad: The Music, Machines and Mystery of Raymond Scott” is Stan Warnow’s heartfelt documentary about the life and legacy of his emotionally remote father, an eccentric techno-music pioneer. In Scott’s single-minded pursuit of an offbeat musical vision, he has been compared to Frank Zappa; one talking head describes him as “an audio version of Andy Warhol.” Like “My Architect,” Nathaniel Kahn’s film about his father, Louis I. Kahn, this documentary is a son’s attempt to forge a posthumous bond with an elusive parent.

Scott, who died in 1994, belonged to that breed of obsessed genius-inventors who focus so intensely on their work that fame and riches are almost incidental. Shy and secretive, he preferred to remain in the background even after achieving some renown. When shown in front of the camera, he is visibly uncomfortable.

Born in Brooklyn in 1908 (he legally changed his name from Harry Warnow), Scott enjoyed hits in the late 1930s as the leader, composer and arranger of the Raymond Scott Quintette, a progressive swing ensemble whose peppy, hyper-agitated instrumentals included “Twilight in Turkey” and “The Toy Trumpet.” The music sounded like jazz but wasn’t, because no element was left to chance.

[ click to continue reading at NYTimes.com ]

Posted on July 20, 2012 by Editor

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