Matt Weiner & Del Rey | At the Ukeshack#1

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Jazz: Weird Jazz Blues: Acoustic Blues Moods: Featuring Bass
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At the Ukeshack#1

by Matt Weiner & Del Rey

Double bass and ukulele duets for every mood and every occasion.
Genre: Jazz: Weird Jazz
Release Date: 

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Tracks

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1. Clockin' the Vic
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3:24 album only
2. Orange Blossom Honey From Sorrento
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4:42 album only
3. Hollywood's Emerald City Bull Fiddle
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3:27 album only
4. Brazilian Tune
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2:56 album only
5. Genuine Besmo
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5:03 album only
6. Brown's Blues
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4:49 album only
7. Pixie Trance
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5:22 album only
8. The Mildred Shuffle
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4:28 album only
9. Doin' the Frog
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2:44 album only
10. Gus the Dog
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4:20 album only
11. Dallas Rag
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2:49 album only
12. Cousin Willy
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3:35 album only
13. Clockin' the Vic
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2:04 album only
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Del Rey and Matt Weiner at the UkeShack #1

The Ukeshack is an imaginary place, a luau at the woodshed, a musical cookout, a clubhouse where practice ain't nothin' but a party, where the old geezers are whittling a tune, whistling dixie, whetting their mettle, wetting their whistle. Pottering.
Matt Weiner and Del Rey have been spending a lot of their free time in the Ukeshack. It started out when Mike Bristow, known by his super-hero name of Pop Icon Boy or Mr. P.I.B., came by the Ukeshack looking for bass and uke back-up for recording his Sunshine Pop inspired arrangements of songs like Petsounds. Matt's band The Blue Four Trio had been recording at a cool studio, Jack Straw, which has programs supporting original music projects. Matt wrote a proposal to the excellent people at Jack Straw, suggesting an album of original uke and bass duets, which he proceeded to sit down and write when they said "yes".
Matt has been coming up with interesting ideas since he and Del worked in a four piece jazz band called The Yes Yes Boys. Ideas like playing all Kid Ory's trombone lines on bowed bass. Arranging Ellington bass sax parts for bowed bass. Here are four old tunes plus eight new Matt Weiner originals.
The arrangements were generated like this: Matt wrote the tunes, then gave Del lead sheets and MIDI files. Definately NOT her normal way to learn a song-she has always worked from old arrangements that already had a spirit and character, which then gets translated to a different instrument. This was more like building a house from scratch-harder! Once she figured a musical way to play the song on uke, she and Matt worked out an arrangement together.
Del uses a few different ukuleles here: a Ron Phillips resonator concert on Gus The Dog, Mildred Shuffle, Clockin' The Vic and Pixie Trance and a Ron Phillips tenor on Genuine Besmo. Ron's wonderful instruments are at www.metalgitar.com. A Todaro 6-string charango uke is on Brazilian Tune. The rest of the songs are played on a mid-70s Kamaka 8-string Taro Patch.

On Cousin Willy, the other ukes are David Keenan on banjo uke, Michael Bristow plays a concert and Casey MacGill his well-worn Kamaka liliu.


Recorded and mixed by Doug Haire at Jackstraw Productions, Seattle, on various Mondays in 2006

Mastered by Barry Corliss, Masterworks, Seattle

Made possible by the Jackstraw Artist Support Program, www.jackstraw.org

All songs by Matt Weiner, Sylvia Rose Music, BMI, except where noted. Arrangements Matt Weiner and Del Rey.

Mildred Shuffle
(Matt Weiner, Sylvia Rose Music, BMI)
Mildred is Matt's dog. When Matt comes home, she does a shuffle which is more commonly known to dog-o-philes as the "butt-waggle dance." Matt and Del can't play at the speed at which Mildred's butt waggles, so Matt imagined it in slow motion.

Doin' The Frog
(Jimmy McHugh, Dorothy Fields, Dan Healy, EMI April Music Inc OBO Cotton Blub Publishing, Copyright Control, Aldi Music Company) This is from a Duke Ellington arrangement that Matt started playing on the bass. It's been driving us crazy for years.

Brazilian Tune
(Kenny Hall) This is a tune Del heard many times when she was a young folkie hanging around the San Diego Follk scene in the late '70s. Having not heard Kenny play it for many years, it may have divulgated from the source...

Brown's Blues (For Steve Brown)
(Matt Weiner, Sylvia Rose Music, BMI)
Steve Brown was the greatest bass player of all time. He is not Ray Brown, who is also great. Read about Steve at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Brown_(bass_player). Slap, bow, pluck, thump, buzz. Why don't they teach kids about him at jazz school? Del and Matt will never forget you, Steve Brown.

Clockin' The Vic
(Matt Weiner, Sylvia Rose Music, BMI)
A disarrangement of a ditty Matt wrote for a short film called Boutique, written and directed by Stephen Schardt. Matt couldn't stop disarranging, and thus a reprise.

Orange Blossom Honey From Sorrento
(Matt Weiner, Sylvia Rose Music, BMI)
Alec Wilder exclaimed these words in his memoirs, and it suggested a melody. This tune has lyrics, and is about a guy whose girl leaves him on a trip to Italy.

Gus The Dog
(Matt Weiner, Sylvia Rose Music, BMI)
Gus is Matt's girlfriend's parents' dog.

Dallas Rag
(Dallas String Band)
Del pickin' and Matt sawin'. Not for delicate ears.

Genuine Besmo
(Matt Weiner, Sylvia Rose Music, BMI)
Matt wrote a tune on a piano. He then picked up the vase on the piano and read the sticker on the bottom.

Hollywood's Emerald City Bull Fiddle (Ory's Creole Trombone)
(Edward 'Kid' Ory, Bug Music OBO Slick Tongue Ory Music)
Matt and Del worked out this arrangement back in the Yes Yes Boys, but weren't able to record it until now. Its based on a couple of old recordings. Matt plays the role of Kid Ory, and Del plays the roles of everybody else.

Pixie Trance
(Matt Weiner, Sylvia Rose Music, BMI)
Creepy. An ogre flirts with a tiny sprite, perhaps.

Cousin Willy
(Matt Weiner, Sylvia Rose Music, BMI)
Inside, no matter how much we deny it, we all want to be rock stars. Even rock stars who hate rock stardom want to be rock stars. Even people who hate rock stars and rock stardom want to be rock stars. Del and Matt happily admit that they would like to be rock stars.


Reviews


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Ana Crusis

I kind of imagine a world where hillbillies invented chamber music in renaissanc
And all done on instruments with only four strings each--pick it up right away! (Oh, and the liner notes will teach you new vocabulary.)

John Book

The 'ukulele taken to a new level of musicianship
This CD was listed under the "Weird Jazz" category, and after hearing it, I'm unsure as to why. Is it the fact that an instrument known in the jazz world is collaborating with an instrument from Hawai'i? What's so weird about that? Let's investigate.

'Ukulele is pronounced ooh-koo-leh-leh, not you-kuh-lay-lee, this is important. In Hawaiian, the word translates to "jumping flea", although its true roots come from the Portuguese who immigrated to the Hawaiian islands for what would amount to slave labor. There were a lot of language barriers among those who were also brought to the Hawaiian islands (Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino) but two things they had in common was a love for food (the mixtures of which now make up modern Hawaiian cuisine/comfort food) and to play music. While the 'ukulele was not indigenous to Hawai'i, what Hawaiian musicians did was come up with their own set of tunings and style of playing with the instrument known as the braguinha (commonly heard in certain styles of Brazilian music, along with music from Portugal and Spain). In time, it would be identified as a Hawaiian instrument. A few years after statehood, Hollywood did something to Hawai'i and Hawaiian culture that unfortunately has not been undone. While it did shed light on "paradise in the middle of the sea", it also focused on the stereotypes of what they thought Hawai'i and Hawaiians were. It involved exaggerated movements, a mock-language (i.e "huki luki muki haka hiki"), and non-Hawaiians portraying Hawaiian people. That was the negative. At the same time, Hawaiian music became one of the most popular music in the United States during the 1920's and 1930's, with artists playing a mixture of traditional Hawaiian songs, newly created hapa haole songs (a sub-genre meant to suggest a song with a Hawaiian theme, but primarily written in English), or expanding on the lap-steel guitar. These early steel-guitar records would be taken home by tourists, and in time would inspire musicians to incorporate it into what would become country music. A musician or two brought records to India, and in time would spawn a style of Indian playing that would involve a modified guitar. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt is one of a small handful of pioneers who turned the Hawaiian steel into something that is now his own.

The 'ukulele suffered a bit, for people perceived it as simple and novel. In fact, a lot of novelty songs were written and performed with the 'ukulele, and for generations that became "the sound". While many Hawaiian 'ukulele musicians would prosper in the islands, people outside of Hawai'i rarely treated the 'ukulele in a serious manner. It didn't help that toy makers would turn it into a cheap instrumen, and while Tiny Tim was very serious in his love of the music from the early 1900's, his persona of the freaky man with the uke did more damage that has yet to be undone. With a few exceptions.

In Hawai'i, the 'ukulele continues to be a very important part of Hawaiian music history, with festivals regularly held to honor the best. Here in the mainland, it is still a mixture of those who use it as a novelty, those who want to use it as a curiosity, and those who truly love the sound and want to expand its capabilities. This is what Matt Weiner & Del Rey do on their first album together as duo called At The Ukeshack #1: 'Ukulele and Bass Duets (Hobemian). Throughout recorded history, there have always been unique recordings where two musicians will just jam and play some incredible sounds, often with great results. In Indian classical music, they call this "jugalbandi". In this case, it wasn't just about jamming for the sake of discovering what will come next, each of the songs were written and arranged specifically for the project, with a small handful of covers thrown in for familiarity.

The music. Bassist Matt Weiner is the one that guides the listener throughout each song, even without looking at his bio for a background, you can tell he has a lot of experience on the bass. At times he'll play it in a fashion that would make Ron Carter proud, and then reach over to the bow to play the bass in that fashion, not unlike a Jimmy Garrison or Charles Mingus at times. While Weiner's name may be listed first on the CD, it is Miss Del Rey who directs the cruise throughout the album. As with any familiar instrument, you will hear what you want to hear, and for me I immediately hear a Hawaiian sound, which is very bright and delightful. What Rey does as the CD moves forward is play the songs differently, so that it doesn't have what might be called a "stereotypical 'ukulele sound". "Orange Blossom Honey From Sorrento" would have worked well in the 1920's as it does in 2007. By the time it gets to track 3, "Hollywood's Emerald City Bull Fiddle", the tones and coloring of the 'ukulele begin to change, and one senses that Rey is into finding out what else can be done other than play "my dog has fleas". In her playing you can hear the influence that can also be found in the style of Brittni Paiva, but also some folk and country influences. Things then go into "Brazilian Theme", and I'm not sure if it was their intention or not, but through music and their playing they're wanting to take the 'ukulele on a trip back to its roots, only to discover that the instrument is very much at home regardless of the clothing one puts on it. With "Cousin Willy", they bring in some friends to play a wide range of 'ukulele, including a Kamaka lili'u (try to find one of those). If you know your Hawaiian music, you know how precious the Kamaka can be, and it's not unlike hearing a rock, country, or folk recording when someone plays an Ovation. When you hear it, you know, and hearing it used here shows a respect for the music and the instrument itself.

Is it "weird jazz"? Weiner and Rey get jazzy at times, but you'll hear a wide range of styles that would make it anything but jazz. It's folk, it's blues, it's country, and it's very much Americana, and it comes from musicians who want to keep the spirit and passion alive for any and all stringed instruments. I definitely want to hear more from Matt Weiner, and perhaps one day Del Rey will go to Hawai'i to play and jam with some of the best 'ukulele players around.

kurt

great vintage-flavored-but-contemporary uke/bass duos
well, i just stumbled across this record, i can't even remember what i was searching for. but i'm a uke player and i've heard a ton of people re-enacting the early jazz era with their ukes. the problem usually is that they only serve to remind one of how much better the original recordings from the 20s/30s etc sounded. not so here, the period is evoked, but the compositions are all original and are ...hm...hard to describe but maybe it's like if you think of the little ways Thelonius Monk might add something more harmonically piquant or melodically angular to a cliche -- that's kind of what you're getting here. the uke playing is virtuosic in just the right way, which is to say, in order to realize a musical idea. a very nice unlikely blend of things, accessible, slightly nostalgic, but fresh and thoughtful. And i can't tell you how many uke-oriented projects trade on the cuteness or novelty of the instrument. Here we have something that works musically on its own terms, and the uke seems like a pleasing timbral choice. complaints? only trivial ones -- there are some slap-bass tunes and the bass is maybe recorded a little funny (lots of slap, not so much low-end beef compared to the more conventionally played tracks).