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.
|Sgt. 1st Class Craig Bitterman|
Sergeant First Class Craig Bitterman is from Buffalo, NY. He earned his Bachelor of Music in performance from SUNY Buffalo and relocated to Connecticut to pursue a Master of Music in performance from the Hartt School of Music. After completing graduate studies, Sgt. 1st Class Bitterman freelanced in the New England area and taught percussion at Holyoke Community College, Wesleyan University and Hartford Conservatory. Performance highlights include appearances with Nebojsa Zivkovic and the Jovan Perkussion Projekt; Maelstrom percussion ensemble; June in Buffalo new music festival; Ankara new music festival; Full Force Dance Theatre; Steelsunrise Steelband and worked with composers Steve Reich, David Felder, James Tenney, Lou Harrison and Amy Williams. Sgt. 1st Class Bitterman has recorded under hat(now)ART, mode, EMF, Yesa, Malletjazz and Whitewater labels.
|Master Sgt. Brian Broelmann|
Master Sergeant Brian Broelmann joined the West Point Band as a saxophonist in 2001. He holds degrees in music education and music performance from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, where he studied with Dr. Timothy McAllister. Master Sgt. Broelmann is a founding member of the West Point Band’s Quintette 7, and can be heard on the ensemble’s CD Quintette 7 Plays the Music of Raymond Scott. In 2014, Master Sgt. Broelmann was assigned as the guitarist in the West Point Band’s Concert Band, providing musical support on guitar, banjo and mandolin.
|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.
|Master Sgt. Denver Dill|
Master Sergeant Denver Dill joined the West Point Band in 2004 while serving as a doctoral teaching assistant at the Eastman School of Music. He holds a Master’s degree from the Juilliard School and an undergraduate degree from Eastern Kentucky University. As a soloist, Master Sgt. Dill has been a prizewinner and competitor in several competitions, including the 2000 Maurice Andre International Trumpet Competition in France, 2002 Tromp Muziek Biennale International Trumpet Competition in the Netherlands, and the 2001-2003 National Trumpet Competitions in the United States. Frequently in demand for his interpretations of contemporary trumpet literature and lectures on overcoming physical limitations on the trumpet, Master Sgt. Dill has performed all over the globe on behalf of several well-known institutions including the Aspen Music Festival, the International Trumpet Guild, the Juilliard School, the New York Philharmonic, and numerous other colleges, universities, festivals, and conventions. Master Sgt. Dill maintains a busy schedule as a bugler, a soloist, and an orchestral musician in the New York Metropolitan and Hudson Valley areas. He has appeared as both a soloist and a substitute principal trumpet player with the New York Philharmonic. Beyond his musical pursuits Master Sgt. Dill assists the Systems Engineering Department at West Point. He frequently mentors cadets with capstone projects and assists with process improvements throughout West Point, the Army Band Program, and the Army at large.
|Sgt. 1st Class Eric Garcia|
Sergeant First 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.
Eric also serves as the Principal Timpanist / Percussion with the New Amsterdam Brass Band in Montclair, NJ. Prior to moving to the Hudson River Valley, Eric performed with the Youngstown Symphony, West Virginia Symphony, Mansfield Symphony Orchestra, and Civic Orchestra of Chicago.
|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.
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.