Panorama Jazz Band / Panoramaland

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Panorama Jazz Band

PR-9045, 2005

It wasn't long after Hurricane Katrina struck that I was talking with Austin tuba player Mark Rubin about the musicians that we knew in New Orleans. Mark wanted to make sure that I knew about a new album by Ben Schenk's band, Panorama. It's taken a few months to track Ben down, but I have it in hand, and it hasn't left the CD exchanger often since it arrived.

What Panorama do is extend that wonderful New Orleans brass band sound just a bit farther than most. So, along with an impeccable and exciting traditional sound on songs such as the opening "Jungle Blues", we also get treated to some amazing Balkan and Jewish jazz as well. The latter include a beautifully sung version of "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen", and a rockin' cover of Naftule Brandwein's "Wie bist die gewesen vor prohibition" and the Balkan-sounding titled, obviously klezmer sounding Abe Schwartz number, "Al raci ku ne draci". Maybe the title does have something to do with a crawfish in trousers?

As I try to describe Panorama, there is the obvious world brass sound of Frank London's Klezmer Brass All-Stars. Or, maybe you can think of this as what Zlatne Uste would sound like if they were from New Orleans instead of New York? Certainly, their cover of "Alievo Oro" would be welcome at any balkan dance party—at any dance party. But, for that matter, so would the Mexican "Five-alarm chili" or their cover of Bolero. This is just damn fine brass band dance music of all genres and stripes. The sort of stuff that you put on the MP3 player whenever you want to move your feet special, or when you just need a little lift.

Special kudos to vocalist Jane Harvey Brown on songs like the aforementioned "Bei mir bist du schoen", the delightful Caribbean "Don't touch me tomato" (here given a slightly Dixieland tinge), and Ben Schenck's "If you love me". Her voice goes so perfectly with the easygoing smoothness of the band. Just one more reason to pick the CD up very soon. New Orleans, the city, may be on the way back. These folks, they never left.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 30 Jan 2006.

Personnel this recording:
Ben Schenck: clarinet, percussion, vocals
Jane Harvey Brown: vocals
Satoru Ohashi: trumpet
JR Hankins: rotary valve flugelhorn
Genevieve Duval: trombone
Patrick Farrell: accordion
Don Godwin: baritone horn
Patrick Mackey: banjo
Jon Gross: sousaphone
James Clark: drum set, snare drum
Sean Clark: bass drum
Chris Courville: bass drum


  1. Jungle blues (Jelly Roll Morton; arr. Patrick Ferrell) 4:02
  2. Pani ti moun—Not a child (after Martiniquan Sam Castandet et son Orchestre Antillais) 3:45
  3. Al raci ku ne draci (after the Abe Schwartz Orchestra) 5:00
  4. Alievo oro—Ali's Dance (from Michael Ginsburg) 4:08
  5. Don't touch me tomato (George Symonette; arr. Ben Schenck) 2:49
  6. Carmencita (Lionel Belasco) 3:35
  7. Five-alarm chili (from a tape of El Banda Recodo) 1:31
  8. Some of these days (introduced by Sophie Tucker; arr. Patrick Farrell) 4:05
  9. Heartsick hora (Patrick Farrell) 4:02
  10. Bei mir bist du schoen—You are beautiful to me (Shalom Secunda) 4:11
  11. El zopilote mojado—the wet buzzard (learned from Amasa Miller and Neti Vaan) 3:56
  12. Bolero (Maurice Ravel; arr. Genevieve Duval) 4:22
  13. Wie bist die gewesen vor prohibition—Where were you before prohibition (Naftule Brandwein) 3:40
  14. If you love me (Ben Schenck) 3:40
  15. Lihnida Kajče Veslaše—Lihnida rows her boat (Efto Pupinoski) 2:54
  16. Renee (Alexandre Stelio) 2:49

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