The West Point Band’s Quintette 7 selected its name as a witty homage to composer Raymond Scott, incorporating elements of two of his performing ensembles’ names (The Raymond Scott Quintette and The Secret 7). The ensemble, a mixed septet of four rhythm players and three horns, is comprised of members of the West Point Concert Band and theband’s Field Music Group, The Hellcats.
Quintette 7 convened in the fall of 2008 for a one-time performance of the quintet music of Raymond Scott, which was accompanied by a biographical presentation by the Raymond Scott Archives director Irwin Chusid. Encouraged by the success of this performance and the support of the Raymond Scott Archives, Quintette 7 continues to delight audiences with its unique repertoire.
In January of 2010, Quintette 7 recorded twenty-two pieces by Scott for the West Point Band’s chamber music CD project. While trying to stay true to the original style, Quintette 7 has taken advantage of the many fine instrumentalists in the West Point Band by adding tuba in place of the bass and percussion parts to pieces that originally had no percussion. After the performance in 2008, Irwin Chusid remarked that he could no longer imagine the music without tuba. Chusid also stated that “Quintette 7 performs Raymond Scott quintet classics with a restrained passion befi tting the elegance of the compositions...There’s no attempt to overwhelm or overplay; they let the works breathe. Scott created the notes; Quintette 7 provides the sparkle.”
Members of Quintette 7 come from varied musical backgrounds, having worked with various orchestras, wind ensembles, popular musicians and chamber ensembles throughout the country. Three members of Quintette 7 attended the Juilliard School, Raymond Scott’s own alma mater.
Quintette 7 is proud to serve the United States Army as one of the chamber ensembles of the West Point Band, presenting educational and entertaining performances of popular and lesser-known repertoire to appreciative audiences.
|Staff Sgt. David Bergman|
Staff Sergeant David Bergman is a native of Oregon. He received his Bachelor of Music in percussion performance from the University of North Texas and his Master of Music in percussion performance from Duquesne University. Staff Sgt. Bergman has performed with the Oregon Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, West Virginia Symphony, Canton Symphony, and Youngstown Symphony. He was a member of the Blue Knights Drum and Bugle Corps in 2000 and the University of North Texas Indoor Drumline. David has received numerous awards and scholarships, including winner of the Pittsburgh Concert Society Competition. Staff Sgt. Bergman has studied percussion under Ed Stephan, Christopher Deane, Mark Ford, Andrew Reamer, and Chris Allen. He was also a student at Music Academy of the West for two summers where he studied with Ted Atkatz and Mike Werner. Prior to his appointment with the West Point Band David was a graduate student at Cleveland State University under Tom Freer.
|Staff Sgt. Yalin Chi|
Staff Sergeant Yalin Chi joined the West Point Band in January of 2008. Originally from Beijing, China, she gave her debut with the Central Opera Symphony Orchestra in 1997. In the same year, she moved to the United States and studied with Victoria Mushkatkol at the Interlochen Arts Academy. Staff Sgt. Chi completed both her Bachelor and Master of Music at the Juilliard School, under the instructions of Seymour Lipkin and Jerome Lowenthal. She has performed in prestigious venues such as Alice Tully Hall, Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Gardner Museum in the United States, and Kumho Art Hall in Seoul, Korea. Staff Sgt. Chi attended the Aspen Music Festival in the summer of 2006 with an orchestral piano fellowship. She has attended the Taos School of Music, Music Academy of the West and Kneisel Hall Chamber Music Festival. She has performed in master classes for Arie Vardi, Richard Goode, John O'Conor and Boris Berman. Staff Sgt. Chi has collaborated with many musicians, including Joseph Alessi (principal trombone of New York Philharmonic), Philip Cobb (principal trumpet of the London Symphony Orchestra), Andrew Wan (concertmaster of Montreal Symphony) and clarinetist Charles Neidich.
|Sgt. 1st Class Eric Garcia|
Sgt. 1st Class Eric Garcia, a native of Hendersonville, Tennessee, joined the West Point Concert Band Percussion Section in 2006. He earned a Bachelor of Music from Northwestern University, where he studied with Michael Burritt and Jim Ross. Sgt. 1st Class Garcia continued his studies at Cleveland State University, graduating with a Master of Music in percussion performance as a student of Tom Freer. After arriving at the band, Sgt. 1st Class Garcia completed a Master of Business Administration from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY.
In addition to his marching and concert band related duties, Sgt. 1st Class Eric Garcia also works as the Logistics and Resource Management Branch Head and the NCOIC of the chamber group Quintette 7. As an original member of the West Point Band's Quintette 7, he can be heard on the ensemble's CD, Quintette 7 Plays the Music of Raymond Scott.
|Staff Sgt. Phillip Helm|
Staff Sergeant Phillip Helm is a member of the West Point Band. He earned his Bachelor of Music from West Texas A&M University where he studied with David Murray. He also attended the Manhattan School of Music college and pre-college divisions where he studied with Linda McKnight. As a student, Staff Sgt. Helm spent his summers studying with Gary Karr on Vancouver Island in Canada. He also received additional summer training performing with the Bard College Conductors Institute Orchestra, and with the Tanglewood Festival Orchestra. Staff Sgt. Helm has also studied with Paul Bresciani, John Feeney and Leigh Mesh.
In addition to his duties with the West Point Band, Staff Sgt. Helm is the Principal Bassist of the Hudson Valley Philharmonic, and the Assistant Principal of the Grammy Award-winning Albany Symphony Orchestra.
Staff Sgt. Helm performs regularly with the following groups: Berkshire
Bach Society; Kairos: A Consort of Singers; Maverick Chamber Players; Phoenicia International Festival of the Voice; and the new music groups Dogs of Desire and Pone Ensemble. He is also a member of the Alternative Bluegrass band Uncommon Ground.
Staff Sgt. Helm has played as first call substitute with the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonics, the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, and the Syracuse Symphony. He has also played with the New York Philharmonic, the Binghamton Philharmonic, the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic, the Amarillo
Symphony, and the Key West Symphony.
His extensive commercial and orchestral work has included playing with such notable performers as Clay Aiken, Joshua Bell, Michael Bolton, Cirque Du Soleil,
Placido Domingo, Josh Groban, Olivia Newton John, Yo-Yo Ma, Bette Midler, Natalie Merchant, Luciano Pavarotti, and Kenny Rogers.
Staff Sgt. Helm has taught at SUNY New Paltz, Bard College, and the Stringendo Music School. He has also been the bass coach with the Empire State and Hudson Valley Youth Orchestras, and has presented master classes at the Hartt School of Music. He currently maintains a large studio of private students.
|Staff Sgt. Kristen Mather de Andrade|
Kristen is principal clarinetist with the West Point Band, and clarinetist with Quintette 7. She frequently performs with the West Point Band and other bands as soloist. In 2010 she recorded a CD of the music of Raymond Scott with Quintette 7. Kristen frequently tours with chamber ensembles from the West Point Band and as a soloist to perform and give master classes in colleges across the country. After forming a partnership between the West Point band and the El Sistema - inspired Harmony Program in New York City, Kristen has returned to studying and is currently a Masters candidate at Columbia University's graduate school of education, Teachers College.
In 2005 Kristen earned a Bachelor of Music in clarinet performance from The Dana School of Music, where she studied with Robert Fitzer. In 2006, she attended DePaul University in Chicago and studied with Chicago Symphony Orchestra Principal Clarinetist Larry Combs. As a student, she was selected to perform in master classes by many clarinetists including Grammy-award winning clarinetist Richard Stoltzman, and Cleveland Orchestra clarinetists Daniel Gilbert and Daniel McKelway.
Kristen has a varied musical background. Prior to obtaining her position in the West Point Band she performed with the American Wind Symphony Orchestra (with which she was soloist), the Ohio Light Opera Orchestra, with renowned jazz quintet The Dave Holland Quintet, singer Maureen McGovern and theater star Tommy Tune, among others. An advocate for new music and the music and culture of Brazil, she has worked with the NYC based composer collective Vox Novus to collect a new repertoire of music inspired by Brazilian themes for a 2015 recording project.
|Staff Sgt. Bill Owens|
Staff Sergeant Bill Owens is currently the associate principal trumpeter with the West Point Band. Upon receiving his Bachelor's degree from the Juilliard School in 2005, Staff Sgt. Owens moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career as a free-lance chamber and orchestral musician. He quickly established himself by performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the San Diego Symphony, and the Santa Barbara Symphony, as well as numerous other orchestras in Southern California. For six years, Staff Sgt. Owens was a member of the national touring ensemble, Presidio Brass. While maintaining a busy performing schedule with Presidio, Staff Sgt. Owens and organist Alison Leudecke performed recitals in venues throughout SoCal. In addition to performing, Staff Sgt. Owens edits, arranges, and writes music for his instrument within varying contexts.
|Sgt. 1st Class Michael Reifenberg|
Sergeant First Class Michael Reifenberg, a native of Cudahy, Wisconsin, joined the saxophone section of the Jazz Knights in September 2005. In 2003, he received a Bachelor of Music in saxophone performance from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater. Two years later, Sgt. 1st Class Reifenberg completed a Master of Music in jazz studies at Indiana University School of Music, where he was also an associate instructor under renowned jazz pedagogue David Baker. Throughout the years, Reifenberg's most influential teachers have been Curt Hanrahan, Rob Wilkerson, Tom Walsh, Pat Harbison, and David Baker. In addition, he has studied improvisation with Ed Peterson, Joel Frahm, Clay Jenkins, and others. Sgt. 1st Class Reifenberg has also performed with several jazz legends, including James Moody, Slide Hampton, Bob Mintzer, David Sanchez, the late Frank Mantooth, Denis DiBlasio, Matt Harris, Steve Houghton, and Jeff Jarvis. Additionally, he was a member of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Pops, the Doc Severinsen Big Band, the American Swing Orchestra, the Al Cobine Big Band, the Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra, the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra, and a host of other bands in the Milwaukee and Indianapolis areas.
Since joining the band, Sgt. 1st Class Reifenberg has assumed the role of Education Outreach NCOIC as well as taking on a de facto role as an arranger for various unit ensembles. He has arranged or composed approximately 150 pieces for the unit, and takes great pride and pleasure in his work. Additionally, he recently made the transition to the West Point Band’s Concert Band, where he gets to call upon his past training as a classical saxophonist, in addition to utilizing his skills as a commercial musician.
Sgt. 1st Class Reifenberg lives on West Point with his wife Megan and son Marcus. In his free time he enjoys having fun with Marcus, exercising, and playing golf.
Raymond Scott was a great composer and innovator in the twentieth century who crossed into many genres of music. His contributions to music and technology are known by musicians and non-musicians alike, though many are not aware of his influence.
- Siberian Sleighride
- Devil Drums
- The Quintet Goes to a Dance
- In an 18th Century Drawing Room
- Snake Woman
- Toy Trumpet
- Oil Gusher
- Bird Life in the Bronx
- Egyptian Barn Dance
- Dinner Muisc for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals
- A Little Bit of Rigoletto
- War Dance for Wooden Indians
- The Penguin
- New Year's Even in a Haunted House
- Manhattan Minuet
- The Quintet Plays Carmen
- Reckless Night on Board an Ocean Liner
- Dedicatory Piece to the Crew & Passengers of the First Experimental Rocket Express to the Moon
- Peter Tambourine
Born Harry Warnow to Russian immigrants on September 10, 1908 in Brooklyn, New York, both Raymond Scott and his brother were musical prodigies. Scott’s father owned a music shop which conveniently supplied records and turntables to his sons, sparking their interest in music and technology. After high school, Scott studied engineering at Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and subsequently graduated from The Juilliard School. He became the staff pianist for the CBS radio house band and began contributing his own compositions to the ensemble. Not wanting to be accused of nepotism, he adopted the name Raymond Scott at this time to disguise his relationship with his brother, the conductor of the band.
After some time at CBS, Scott received permission to form an ensemble of his own. The group he formed was the original Raymond Scott Quintette. Their debut performance in December 1963 of The Toy Trumpet on the radio program Saturday Night Swing Session resulted in a recording contract with Master Records.
As a band leader, Scott’s true colors began to show. He was a very difficult man to work for, demanding perfection from all of the performers and wanting control of every aspect of the music. Concerning improvisation, Scott would allow a soloist to improvise to a certain point, but then stick with a solo he approved of for all future performances. Scott’s approach to composition further complicated the rehearsal process. Scott wrote from the keyboard, dictating parts to the musicians. Aside from this being a tedious style of communicating his musical ideas, it made much of his music very difficult to play. A passage that worked well on keyboard was often not idiomatic to the instruments with which he was working. This created an interesting dichotomy. Much of Scott’s music sounds fun and light hearted, even “off-the-cuff,” but it is very hard to perform and achieving lightness requires intense preparation on the part of the instrumentalists. Leroy Perkins, a clarinetist in a later incarnation of the Raymond Scott Quintette, explained of Scott’s compositions, “His music was not easy to play because he wrote it right off the piano keyboard. He didn’t give a damn if it was hard on the clarinet or saxophone. He didn’t write music that was idiosyncratic to the instrument you played. But he had such good players who could do anything.”
The Sound of Raymond Scott, past and present:
- The Raymond Scott Quintette:
Scott’s Quintette music has been called chamber jazz and “kittenish-screwy pseudo-jazz” by his critics. His Quintette was extremely popular on radio, the concert stage, and in film despite the criticism. His quirky style was difficult to categorize, as it exhibited characteristics of Western Art Music, Popular Music, Ethnic World Music, and Jazz. Borrowing the form of jazz compositions, pieces state the “head,” open up the form for improvisation and restate the “head.” Much of the content was influenced by Western Art Music, at times utilizing exact themes from specific pieces from the classical tradition.
Many did not consider Scott’s music jazz because of strict regulation of solos and that he drew from many different types of music to create the themes for his pieces. In an 18th Century Drawing Room, A Little Bit of Rigoletto, Manhattan Minuet, and The Quintet Plays Carmen all incorporated themes from classical music. Composers such as George Gershwin were bringing elements of jazz to classical music (as in Rhapsody in Blue, 1924). The New York Times, in 1937, called Scott’s music “a brand of music that is at one and the same time as free as a ‘jam session’ and as authoritatively formal as a Debussy cake walk—and not unacquainted with the humor of both.”
- Quintette 7 Interpretation:
Though restrictive for many of the jazz musicians he worked with, Scott’s music was so designed that it became possible for the West Point Band’s Quintette 7 to treat the music for this recording more like chamber jazz. Direct transcriptions of the Raymond Scott Quintette recordings were used for this project, with slight modifications to the original sound, such as the tuba in place of the double bass and melodic and auxiliary percussion in many of the pieces. Some orchestration edits were made by each individual player to create the best group sound while remaining true to the original composition. Changes to the original transcriptions were made only to enhance the character of the pieces, which almost “scream out” for sound effects.
- Concert Jazz as Cartoon Music:
The “humor” and “screwy” character of Scott’s works led to an interesting use of his music in 1943. Warner Brothers music director Carl Stalling adapted Scott’s Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals for the Merry Melodies and Looney Tunes cartoon Greetings Bait. This began a lasting relationship between Scott’s music and cartoons. Raymond Scott did not know until much later in his life that his music was adapted for use in cartoons. He never intended for his music to be used in this way.
Scott’s most recognizable piece is Powerhouse, which has a prominent place in many cartoon soundtracks. The two distinct, unrelated sections of this piece evoke two very contrasting visual images: the first, a running chromatic line (often paired with chase scenes); and the second, a very metronomic and menacing line (usually coupled with an assembly line).
Scott’s other themes, including The Penguin, Twilight in Turkey, Huckleberry Duck, The Toy Trumpet, Siberian Sleighride, Reckless Night on Board an Ocean Liner, and Singing Down the Road, are quoted in about 120 Warner productions.
The use of Raymond Scott’s music in Warner Brothers cartoons led to more producers following suit. Scott’s music has been used in Looney Tunes, Batfink, Ren and Stimpy, The Simpsons, Duckman, and Animaniacs. Henry Porch, music coordinator for SpumCo (the original producers of Ren and Stimpy), wrote in Spin magazine that Scott’s music “screamed animation.” He explained, “Ren and Stimpy deals with abruptly changing emotions and attitudes, and Scott’s music easily keeps up, shifting gears at breakneck pace.” This unintentional partnering of Scott’s music with cartoons has led to it becoming ingrained in the minds of many musicians and artists. His influence can be heard in music by such performers as Frank Zappa, Danny Elfman, They Might Be Giants, John Zorn, and Devo. Soul Coughing, Don Byron, Kronos Quartet, and The Beau Hunks Sextette have all either sampled or recorded transcriptions of Raymond Scott’s music.
Though many living composers and performers were not alive for Raymond Scott’s peak in popularity, most have the sound of Scott’s music in their mind thanks to the cartoons of their youth. His presence in musical history was long ignored, but many are now revisiting his contributions. This recent activity makes all the more prophetic a caption which appeared beneath a photo of Scott and his Quintette in the November 27, 1937 issue of Billboard: “Scott’s music evolved as something more substantial than mere jazz. Its ultimate worth can only be judged in the future.”
*Special thanks to Raymond Scott Archives director Irwin Chusid for the information pertaining to Raymond Scott’s career and personal life.
- LTC Timothy J. Holtan, Commander
- SFC Christopher Rettie, Recording Session Producer
- SSG Joseph Skinner, Audio Engineer
- MSG Blair Ferrier, Assistant Audio Engineer
- SFC Sam Kaestner, Graphic Design
- SSG Kristen Mather, Liner Notes
*Quintette 7 would like to thank Mr. Les Deutsch for generously donating his transcriptions to this recording project and Mr. Irwin Chusid, director of the Raymond Scott Archives, for his continued support and insights.