01 Good Music For You

Scroll down to see, hear and read about every monthly track we’ve released since May, 2014.

Good Music For You  is the monthly digital track-drop from the Panorama Jazz Band and the Panorama Brass Band of New Orleans.  

The sounds come from anywhere people like to play, dance and celebrate: especially New Orleans, the Caribbean, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

You, a music industry tastemaker, can listen to and download all of our new singles here. Email Ben if you’d prefer a .WAV file and to discuss a deal.

Do you use the music file-sharing platform DISCO?  Check out OUR NEW PAGE where you can easily sample, make playlists and share tracks from our entire catalog!
You can also hear and license tracks through our Audiosocket page.

Released July 1st, 2024

Hear and download Carinhoso 
(320 kbps MP3 or WAV file)

Track Notes and Credits

Released June 1st, 2024

Hear and download She’s Leaving Home 
(320 kbps MP3 or WAV file)

Track Notes and Credits

Released May 1st, 2024

Hear and download Zeina 
(320 kbps MP3 or WAV file)

Track Notes and Credits

Released April 1st, 2024

Hear and download Jungle Blues (2024)
(320 kbps MP3 or WAV file)

Track Notes and Credits

Released March 1st, 2024

Hear and download Beresh Katz’ Bulgar
(320 kbps MP3 or WAV file)

Track Notes and Credits

Released February 1st, 2024

Hear and download L’Age Atomique (2024)
(320 kbps mp3 or WAV file)

Track Notes and Credits

Released January 1st, 2024

Hear and download Camelia (2024)
(320 kbps mp3 or WAV file)

Track Notes and Credits

Released December 1st, 2023

Hear and download Coventry Carol
(320 kbps mp3 or WAV file)

Track Notes and Credits

Released November 1st, 2023

Hear and download Tres Danzas (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released October 1st, 2023

Hear and download Pani Ti Moun (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released September 1st, 2023

Hear and download On The Funny Side of the Street (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released August 1st, 2023

 

Hear and download Milneburg Joys (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released July 1st, 2023

Hear and download Adieu Lacheben (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released June 1st, 2023

 

Hear and download Asi Paré (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released May 1st, 2023

Hear and download The Game Plan (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

 

Released April 1st, 2023

Hear and download Liftoff (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released March 1st, 2023

 

Hear and download Bad Times (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released February 1st, 2023

Hear and download Sougouya (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released January 1st, 2023

Hear and download I Got Loaded (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

 

Released December 1st, 2022

Hear and download Happy Joyous Hanukkah (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released October 31st, 2022

 

Hear and download Things That Go Bump (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released October 1st, 2022

 

Hear and download I Only Have Eyes For You (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released September 1st, 2022

Hear and download Star Wars  (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released August 1st, 2022

 

Hear and download A Laibediga Honga (“A Lively Dance”)  (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released July 1st, 2022

Hear and download Enjoy Yourself (COVID Edition)  (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released June 1st, 2022

Hear and download Flor Amorosa  (320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released May 1st, 2022

 

Hear and download Ot Azoy!  + Ot Azoy (Party Mix)
(320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released April 1st, 2022

Hear and download I’m Leaving It All Up To You
(320 kbps mp3)

Track Notes and Credits

Released March 1st, 2022

Hear and download
Walk Like An Egyptian (One Thousand And One Nights)
(320 kbps mp3)

Walk Like An Egyptian (One Thousand And One Nights) Track Notes and Credits

Released February 1st, 2022

Hear and download Amen, Brother(320 kbps mp3)

Amen, Brother Track Notes and Credits

Released January 1st, 2022

Hear and download En Ti Punch(320 kbps mp3)

En Ti Punch Track Notes and Credits

Released December 1st, 2021

Hear and download Naissez (320 kbps mp3)

Naissez Track Notes and Credits

Released October 31st, 2021

Hear and download ​ the radio play 
A Tribute to Morgus the Magnificent
(320 kbps mp3)

Hear and download ​ the song Morgus the Magnificent
(320 kbps mp3)

A Tribute to Morgus the Magnificent
Track Notes and Credits

Released October 1st, 2021

 

Hear and download ​ Turn on the Light (320 kbps mp3)

Hear and download ​ an instrumental-only version

Turn on the Light Track Notes and Credits

Released September 3rd, 2021

For the first time, due to the mayhem caused by Hurricane Ida, Panorama comes up a couple days late…

Hear and download ​ Week 23 (320 kbps mp3)

Week 23 Track Notes and Credits

Released August 1st, 2021

Hear and download ​ Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You (320 kbps mp3)

Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You Track Notes and Credits

Released July 1st, 2021

 

Hear and download ​ Peace Anthem (320 kbps mp3)

Peace Anthem Track Notes and Credits

Released June 1st, 2021

Hear and download ​ Ave Maria (320 kbps mp3)

Ave Maria Track Notes and Credits

Released May 1st, 2021

Hear and download ​ Party on the Levee (320 kbps mp3)

Party on the Levee Track Notes and Credits

Released April 1st, 2021

Hear and download ​ Love and Death (320 kbps mp3)

Love and Death Track Notes and Credits

Released March 1st, 2021

Hear and download ​ Muziqawi Silt (320 kbps mp3)

Muziqawi Silt Track Notes and Credits

Released February 1st, 2021

 

Track Notes and Credits

Download ​ T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia) (320 kbps mp3)

Released January 1st, 2021

Track Notes and Credits

Download ​ Pembe Oro (LIVE) (320 kbps mp3)

Released December 1st, 2020

Track Notes and Credits

 

Download ​ Staying Home for the Holidays (320 kbps mp3)

Released November 1st, 2020

Track Notes and Credits

Download Martinique (LIVE 2020)  (320 kbps mp3)

Released October 1st, 2020

Track Notes and Credits

Download Trombon Hora (LIVE 2020)  (320 kbps mp3)

Released September 1st, 2020

Track Notes and Credits

Download Oh, By The Way… (320 kbps mp3)

Released August 1st, 2020

Track Notes and Credits

Download Sudoku (320 kbps mp3)

Released July 1st, 2020

Track Notes and Credits

Download Why Not (320 kbps mp3)

Released June 1st, 2020

Track Notes and Credits

Download New Banjo Thing (320 kbps mp3)

We released three live tracks to our subscribers in March, April and May of 2020:
Dulgo Horo (LIVE)
Sali Dame (LIVE)
Mandinga (LIVE 2020)

Released February 1st, 2020

Track Notes and Credits

Download (I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My) Sister Kate (320 kbps mp3)

Released January 1st, 2020

Track Notes and Credits

Download Lebedik un Freylekh  (320 kbps mp3)

Released December 1st, 2019

Holiday Lagniappe: Two holiday tracks this month!

 

 

Track Notes and Credits

Download Have A Happy Hanukkah  (320 kbps mp3)

 

 

Track Notes and Credits

Download Christmas Time Is Here  (320 kbps mp3)

 

 

 

Released November 1st, 2019

Track Notes and Credits 

Download Way Down Yonder In New Orleans  (320 kbps mp3)

Released October 1st, 2019

Track Notes and Credits 

Download Speranze Perdute (“Lost Hopes”)  (320 kbps mp3)

Released September 1st, 2019

Track Notes and Credits 

Download I Almost Forgot About The Blues (320 kbps mp3)

Released August 1st, 2019

Track Notes and Credits

Download Miranda (320 kbps mp3)

Released July 1st, 2019

Track Notes and Credits

Download Time Is Tight (320 kbps mp3)

 

 

 

Released June 1st, 2019

 

Track Notes and Credits 

Download Till There Was You (320 kbps mp3)

 

 

Released May 1st, 2019

Track Notes and Credits 

Download La Negra Atilia (320 kbps mp3)

 

Released April 1st, 2019

Track Notes and Credits

Download Bridge Over Troubled Water (320 kbps mp3)

 

 

Released March 1st, 2019

Your Panorama track for March 2019 is our second composition by Erik Satie (see also “Je Te Veux,” April 2018) and our fourth from composers working in Belle Époque Paris (see also “Sicilienne, Op. 78” by Gabriel Fauré, August 2014, and “Je Veux Vivre” by Charles Gounod, October of that year).  

This is also our second release in a series featuring the trio: myself on clarinet, Michael Ward-Bergeman on accordion and Doug Garrison on drums (see also “Bessarabian Balaban,” which we sent you last month, Feb 2019). We began in the studio last Friday with an arrangement which we captured after a few takes. For this session Michael brought out the “Cadillac,” his extra massive, custom built Bugari accordion (check out the fat low end on the bass side). Then Doug and I returned Tuesday and added additional percussion, Doug on the bongos and me on tambourine.

 

Download Première Gnossienne (320 kbps mp3)

The tune is cast in an altered minor scale, evoking a Middle-Eastern atmosphere. Coming from Satie, this made us think more of a parlor exoticism than any attempt at folkloric authenticity. Although we did set our version to an Arabic groove called “maqsoom,” Michael chose to go abstract for his accordion solo. Let us know what the overall effect on your ears is.

Ben Schenck
Panorama Jazz Band / Panorama Brass Band
New Orleans, LA

 

Released February 1st, 2019

With our February release we are inaugurating a series of trio recordings featuring Michael Ward-Bergeman on accordion, Doug Garrison on drums and myself, Ben Schenck, on clarinet. While it is certainly true that Panorama needs to start living within our means (the trio is considerably more affordable to record than the seven piece), it is also true that we are very excited and inspired to explore some new sounds in our “Good Music For You” club. For example, there is an incredible range of tone color available on the accordion alone that we don’t get to hear as well in the context of the full band.

Download Bessarabian Balaban (320 kbps mp3)

Therefore, to start the party, we tracked a number we’ve been playing at the Spotted Cat with the whole Panorama for several years. It’s a medley of Jewish “bulgarn”* consisting of eleven different strains, or sections. The music was compiled by the New York based clarinetist Alex Kontorovich who learned the lines from the late Moldovan clarinetist German Goldenshteyn (1934-2006). When Mr Goldenshteyn emigrated to the US in 1994, he brought with him a notebook of roughly 1000 Jewish melodies. The Jewish community in Moldova still has an unbroken connection to Yiddish heritage going back many centuries, and 90% of the music Goldenshteyn brought with him had never been heard in the US. (See also Panorama Brass Band’s recording of the Goldenshteyn Hora from our album 17 Days.)

Most Jewish melodies coming from the Old World don’t have titles other than generic labels like “Hora #42.” So when we record them and put them out, we usually need to come up with a title. And for that I usually need to turn to local musician, Panorama sub and our klezmer rabbi Mark Rubin (see also “Di Shikerer Tantz,” ie the Drunkard Dance which we released in our song-of-the-month club “Good Music For You” in July, 2014). For this one I asked him for a Yiddish word meaning a “rowdy party” and he came back with “Balaban.” In addition to a type of Azeri double reed instrument, the word also identifies an eastern European Jewish drum and, by extension… a rowdy party. The name “Bessarabia” refers to an Eastern European region in what is now Moldova and the Ukraine. This suite comprises tunes that are Jewish in origin as well as some that are more Moldovan/Bessarabian. Some are folk tunes, some may be from the great Moldovan accordionist Emil Kroitor and Mark tells me that the “J” section is actually an old Soviet anthem. It was Mr. Kontorovich though who knitted them all together into one big Bessarabian Balaban.

Thanks for listening! It is our mission to put a little extra bounce in your step every month.

Ben Schenck
Panorama Jazz Band
New Orleans, LA

*Plural of “Bulgar,” a fast Jewish dance in which the rhythm often carries an accent on the “and of two.”

Released January 1st, 2019

I don’t want to say too much about this track, I’d like the music to speak for itself and I’d really like to know how it feels to you after you’ve had a chance to listen to it. What I can tell you is that, when I wrote my “Solo for Clarinet” in the early part of 1986, I was 22 years old, living with my mom in Annapolis MD, and preparing for my senior concert at Bennington College (VT) later that year. I was also listening to a lot of Lester Young, in particular his beautiful reading of a tune called “I Don’t Stand A Ghost of A Chance With You.” Check it out some time.

Download Solo for Clarinet (320 kbps mp3)

If I remember correctly (for what it’s worth), I believe the first day I sat down to write was January 28, the day the space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all seven crew members aboard. That’s something you don’t easily forget and was definitely on my mind in those days but I never thought of this as an hommage. For me though there is an image of a little shoot pushing it’s way out of the soil, through some gravel, or broken concrete and reaching for the sunlight.

In the end, the final result is something that is very dear to me, a piece I’ve
returned to over and over again in the past 33 years and I’m really happy to have an opportunity to share it with you. Although I’ve performed it a handful of times, this is the first time I’ve tried to record it.

I’d also like to dedicate this release to the memory of two men I studied with at Bennington, Gunnar Schonbeck (clarinet) and Lou Calabro (composition).

Happy New Year, thanks for listening and thanks for your support.
Ben Schenck
Panorama Jazz Band
New Orleans, LA

Released December 15th, 2018

When I was a Quaker kid 45 years ago in Annapolis MD, there was a man who would stand up before the rise of meeting for worship every year at Christmas and sing, in a rich baritone, his a capella rendition of “O Holy Night.” Much to the mirth of my mom and my aunt, he would crescendo into the high note on the words “O night divine” with a dramatic intensity that may have missed the mark, I don’t remember. But for him, the song was a heartfelt devotion to the Christchild, his delivery completely free of irony. Some in the meetinghouse may actually have wiped away a tear.

Download O Holy Night (mp3)

 

Panorama often gets called for Holiday gigs at this time of year so, over time, we’ve developed a pretty good book of the “old chestnuts.” On this one we hand off the lead role to New Orleans trombonist Colin Myers of the Jumbo Shrimp Jazz Band. With chord changes outlined by the clarinet and the banjo hitting beats 2 and 4, Colin pulls out the plunger mute to swing the line with a gutbucket strut.

After one time down, however, we experience an abrupt vibe shift to find ourselves in a classy jazz club. Doug goes to the ride cymbal and Matt lays down a walking bass line as Aurora recaps the melody on alto sax followed by Michael on accordion. When I take my turn on clarinet, Mark goes to a boogie shuffle on the banjo before Colin takes it back, building to that very same climactic high note our Friend had reached for in Quaker meeting. Still without irony, mind you, Colin brings it in with perhaps a bit more mastery and certainly a sense of funky fun.

Merry Christmas!
Ben Schenck
Panorama Jazz Band
New Orleans, LA

Released December 1st, 2018

After hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Ama (my spouse, very pregnant at the time) and I were couch surfing in Baton Rouge when multi-instrumentalist, teacher and all-around mensh Mark Rubin (who produced our second album, “Panoramaland”) texted me. “Just come to Austin, I have everything you need.” He had a small guest house on his property plus his synagogue had gathered money, groceries, baby clothes, household items and literally everything we needed. Our son Rogan (now 13) was born there and the three of us returned to New Orleans to start over in December.

Download Spin The Dreidel (mp3)

 

Several years later as wages for musicians continued to fall in Austin, I encouraged Mark to relocate to New Orleans and was able to kick him work with Panorama. This year, as Hanukkah approached, I floated the idea to Mark of him “special guesting” on our annual Hanukkah track under his stage persona, “Jew of Oklahoma.” The tune he suggested was “Drey Dreydele,” Yiddish for “Spin the Dreidel.”

You probably already know that a dreidel is a small, four-sided top children play with at Hanukkah time. Each side has a Hebrew letter on it. You spin it and, depending which side lands up, you either put in or take out some  “Hanukkah gelt,” chocolate coins for the occasion.

Also, scroll down to check Mark out playing tuba on our previous tracks: “Chororo,” “Home for the Holidays,” “Hanukkah on Japonica” and “Joshua Yaakov” plus banjo on “Firn di Mekhutonim Aheym.”

And dig our previous Hanukkah tracks: “Home For The Holidays,” “Hanukkah on Japonica” and “Ocho Kandelikas,” featuring Meryl Zimmerman (vocals).

Thanks for listening,
Ben Schenck
Panorama Jazz Band
New Orleans, LA

Released November 1st, 2018

 

Back in February, New Orleans author (and “Good Music For You” subscriber) Michael Tisserand approached me about a collaboration. He had written a biography of a singular New Orleans figure, the trailblazing cartoonist George Herriman (1880-1944) who created Krazy Kat (“Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White” www.michaeltisserandauthor.com)

 

Download Happy Land (mp3)

 

In the strip, Krazy plays the banjo and is often seen singing the line “there is a heppy lend, fur fur away…” Michael explained that “Happy Land” was an old Protestant hymn Herriman liked to quote and proposed we make something out of it to release this month in conjunction with the arrival of his book in paperback.

The best part though was when he told me that John Boutté, a relative of Herriman’s, wanted to sing the part of Krazy Kat!

I paid a visit to John in his North Shore hideaway where, sitting at the piano, he banged out chord changes to create a jazzified version of “Happy Land” using satyrical lyrics that were popular on the stage in the late 1800s. Then, drawing from actual Krazy Kat strips, Michael and I cobbled together a script for our “audio comic” that features a dialogue in which I try to pin down Krazy’s gender identity. (Krazy Kat was gender-fluid before that was even conceivable to most Americans.) Then, in the final chorus, Krazy, using rhyming couplets found in the comic, professes his love for Ignatz, the mouse who’s always throwing bricks at his head.

When Panorama, John and Michael finally gathered in the studio a few weeks ago, we approached the work from a completely different angle than usual. Rather than playing straight through start to finish like we normally do, we took this one in discreet segments. For example, the accordion trill (right before the punchline when Krazy skillfully evades questions about his identity) was recorded after most of the band had been dismissed for the day and then later placed where it belongs in the narrative.

You will also hear, at the point where I am most befuddled by Krazy’s inscrutable replies, a “Dreamy Waltz,” which some of you may recognize as a whole-tone treatment of our song-of-the-month for April, a lovely dance by Erik Satie titled “Je Te Veux” (“I Want You.”)

After we had everything in the can, the question remained
whether the track would flow organically once we edited it all
together. I’ll let you be the judge of that! Let me know how it
strikes your eardrums and if the narrative is coherent.

And for more about Krazy Kat, Ignatz and the rest, check out
Michael’s book, “Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black
and White” at www.michaeltisserandauthor.com. And please join
Panorama for a Krazy Kat jazz party 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 13
at Treme Coffeehouse (1501 St Philip St, N.O.LA 70116), just
four blocks from George Herriman’s birthplace.

Ben Schenck
Clarinetist / Leader
Panorama Jazz Band
New Orleans, LA
[email protected]

 

 

 

 

Released October 1st, 2018

Hi everybody! This is our 55th consecutive song-of-the-month since May, 2014, and it’s a real party. For this one I called up two of my oldest friends in New Orleans, singer John Boutté and clarinetist Dr. Michael White. The tune, “Box Car Shorty,” was written by New Orleans’ jazz genius, Sidney Bechet and recorded by him  with Bob Wilber and his Famous Jazz Band in 1950. Where the vocal on the original recording is by a calypsonian from Trinidad called The Duke of Iron, we managed to tempt John Boutté, the “mighty man from across the pond” to drive over the Causeway from his North Shore hideaway and record with Panorama.

The Bechet/Wilber recording, which I have listened to nearly without ceasing for the past 20 plus years, features two clarinets so, for the role of “hot stick” I called up a mentor of mine, Dr. Michael White. I originally met Michael in 1985, before I moved to New Orleans, when he played at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. He takes all the ad lib clarinet parts on this one where I play the section parts.

Check out the growl in John’s voice when he utters the phrase “sly like a mongoose,” the heat in Dr White’s tone when he jumps off for his ad lib chorus, the tutti fanfare that recurs four times in the track and the rhythm section punching that “half clavé” rhythm.

Thanks for listening,

Ben Schenck
Clarinetist / Leader
Panorama Jazz Band
New Orleans, LA

Special thanks to Panorama friend Ray Funk and Trinidad language expert Dr. Lise Winer for help with the lyrics. There were a few of them I really couldn’t make out.  -Ben

Download Box Car Shorty (mp3)

 

Released September 1st, 2018

Have you ever loved and lost?

Your Panorama track for September is a sweet, sentimental love ballad from South Carolina songwriter Bill Trader (1922-2003). It’s told from the point of view of someone who has admitted defeat in the quest to hold on to love and now can only sing of his undying devotion. You may be familiar with versions recorded by Hank Snow, Elvis Presley, Jo Stafford and even Bob Dylan. In our rendering, listen for the subtle phrasing of Charlie’s in-head on trombone, the Fats Domino-style 12/8 groove laid down by the rhythm section, Michael using the accordion like a pedal steel, the lilting 4-bar segue we came up with to get from the key of C to the key of Ab and Ben’s earnest delivery of the lyric.

Download (Now And Then There’s) A Fool Such As I (mp3)

Released August 1st, 2018


Henry Roeland Byrd (1918-1980), better known as Professor Longhair, was one of the coolest piano players to come out of New Orleans since Jelly Roll Morton. Along with Fats Domino, James Booker and Allen Toussaint (to name a few), he had his own unmistakable style that people here still listen to every day and pianists the world over still study and try to imitate. His music, like that of the Crescent City, marries Caribbean elements coming mainly from Cuba and Haiti with the Blues floating downriver from the Mississippi Delta.
Where the Blues usually makes its way to a IV7 chord within the 1st few bars (which gives the tune that distinctive flatted 3rd color) a lot of Creole music toggles back and forth between the I and V7 chords. Such is the case with today’s selection, “No Buts, No Maybes” although it does roll out over an up-tempo Blues shuffle groove.
This track features Ben on the vocal as the beleaguered male pleading his case. If you’ve heard Fess’s original version, you’ll recognize the horn lick that recurs several times. Plus there’s a hot chorus with Charlie Halloran and Aurora Nealand trading fours on trombone and alto sax followed by Matt Perrine having the last word on the tuba. “What you want poor little me to do?” Also check out Michael Ward-Bergeman comping on the accordion, giving the track a real flowing groove and a bit of a Zydeco flavor. You can hear him shining through between phrases of the horn lick and the vocal.

Download No Buts, No Maybes (mp3)

Released July 1st, 2018


Every now and then we like to remind y’all where Panorama comes from – we are a New Orleans Jazz Band after all. Here’s one of our Trad numbers, The Bogalusa Strut, that we’ve been playing for years but never took the time to record until recently. It’s true, we do get pulled away to all the wonderful
music from other cultures that we find so fascinating – Caribbean, Jewish, Eastern European and Latin American among others. But Bogalusa Strut is a good ol’ goodun that brings it all back home. The composer, Sam Morgan (1895-1936), was a New Orleans trumpet player and bandleader who worked throughout the Gulf South, from Texas to Florida, in the early part of the 20th century.
On this track we skipped the ad lib solos and instead chose to spotlight that New Orleans texture of ensemble improvisation, with the trombone tailgating Kid Ory style, as well as a couple breaks and a gang vocal. And keep an ear out for a quote of Bucket Got A Hole In It at the repeat of the A section. You better run home and tell your mama, that Panorama band’s in town!
Also, you’ll appreciate this: we had a string of gigs in public libraries out in Washington Parish just a few days ago. We do a sweet 45 minute presentation for kids where we count out different rhythms, talk about each instrument in the band, the cultures we draw from and then finish up with a New Orleans jazz standard. So, just the other day, for the first time (hopefully not the last), we played the Bogalusa Strut IN actual Bogalusa, LA! And we had everybody up and struttin’ around the library. We all got a kick out of that and so did the kids.
Special thanks to Dr Michael White for help with the origin of Bogalusa Strut.

Download Bogalusa Strut (mp3)

Released June 1st, 2018

Klezmer music originates from the Jews of Eastern Europe and we learned today’s selection from the repertoire of clarinet wild man, Naftule Brandwein (1884-1963). Born into a family of working musicians in Galicia, Poland (now in the Ukraine), he emigrated to New York City in 1906 and soon started calling himself “the King of Jewish music.” between 1922 and 1941 he made a batch of recordings which, taken as a whole, is one of the strongest influences on today’s generation of klezmer musicians.
The title, “Firn Di Mekhutonim Aheym” (Yiddish for “Leading the In-Laws Home”), which Brandwein recorded with Abe Schwartz’s Orchestra in February 1923, is probably an arbitrary one since melodies were traditionally never given names. But it refers to what may have been a wedding custom back in the old country and, at the very least, does conjure a sweet image of musicians performing their final duty of the evening, escorting the guests home through the village or neighborhood.
A zhok is a Yiddish dance in a limping 3/8 rhythm. For this one, we shifted multi-instrumentalist Mark Rubin from tuba to tenor banjo. Mark knows from klezmer and it was to him we turned for just the right zhok tempo, something that the old folks would feel right at home with. The melody takes place on a D Freygish scale which, although it uses a major 3rd, has a minor 2nd, 6th and 7th, giving it that haunting Middle-Eastern sound. Clarinet delivers the line at the top over trombone, banjo, tuba and drums playing only on beats 1 and 3. Then, on the repeat, alto sax and accordion fall in to open up the sound. The climactic moment in the form occurs at the top of each C section when a fake to the minor IV chord leads briefly to the relative major of Bb before landing, with some inevitability, back on D. At the return to the top, accordion and saxophone each have a go before we recap the C section, drop off the in-laws and go put our feet up.
People in New Orleans dance home to music that is quite different from this – different groove, different sound, whole different vibe. This tune is slow, stately, mysterious and sings of a deep gratitude, almost weeping for joy. But what’s so cool is the fact that there are many diverse ways of doing all the same things that people all over the world have always done: celebrate a wedding, mourn a death or make a party. Here in Panoramaland we enjoy trying out as many of those as we can.
By the way, this is Panorama’s 4th recording of a Brandwein composition. If you like this one, also check out:
Terkishe Yale V’yove Tantz” (on “Another Hot Night In February,” 2003)
Wie Bist Die Gevesen Vor Prohibition?” (on “Panoramaland,” 2005)
and “Oy Tate, S’iz Git!” (on “Come Out Swingin’,” 2011).

Download Firn Di Mekhutonim Aheym (mp3)

Released May 1st, 2018

Available with and without vocal track


Many of you will be familiar with the pop hit, “In The Summertime,” which topped charts around the world in 1970. It is a light-hearted dance number with a Caribbean feel by a group from England called Mungo Jerry. We’ve played it in Panorama here and there for years, always as an instrumental. But when we started to think about recording it and looked up the lyrics, we discovered that, unfortunately, the story is pretty uncool towards women. So we came up with something more respectful that also describes that summertime feeling of celebrating life by dancing and playing music.
Our version is set up over a New Orleans “Pocky-Way” drum pattern and makes a nod to Dr. John’s reading of “Iko-Iko.” There is also a breakdown section in a spooky whole-tone sonority before the reeds take it out back in the original key.
With Vocal:

Download In The Summertime (mp3)

Without Vocal:

Download In The Summertime (No VOCAL) (mp3)

Released April 1st, 2018


We played a wedding at the beginning of March and for their first dance the couple, both accomplished Classical musicians, asked if I would arrange a waltz by Erik Satie. I took a listen to “Je Te Veux” (“I Want You”) and found it very appealing. So then the next thought was that, if we were going to work it up for the wedding, we might as well record it for you!
Erik Satie (1866-1925), a French composer best known for his “Trois Gymnopédies,” grew up in the Montmartre section of Paris. He was unsuccessful at the Paris Conservatory but learned enough to begin writing music. He worked as a piano player in local cabarets, salons and cafes and eventually made a living publishing his compositions. Satie was a friend of Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel and Igor Stravinsky and his work foreshadows the Minimalist, Dadaist and Absurdist schools in French arts. Although “Je Te Veux” was originally conceived as a vocal number with an erotically charged lyric by a poet friend of Satie’s, Henry Pacory, we give it to you here as an instrumental.
Last April we released another piano waltz arranged for the jazz band, Pleasant Moments by American composer Scott Joplin. And if you like these, also check out our recording of another Parisian waltz from the Belle Epoque, Sicilienne Op. 78 by Gabriel Fauré.

Ben Schenck
Clarinetist / Leader
Panorama Jazz Band
New Orleans, LA

Download Je Te Veux (“I Want You”) (mp3)

Released March 1st, 2018


Last Summer my dad, a buddy and I dropped in to Preservation Hall to hear the band and say hi to friends. Quite unexpectedly, we were ushered into the inner sanctum (a cozy office behind the back courtyard) by Artistic and Managing Director Ron Rona. They’d been putting on a Sunday salon featuring local bands trying something new and Ron invited Panorama to give it a go. We eventually landed on the idea, inspired by a quote from 20th century journalist A.J. Liebling* (see below), of juxtaposing Mediterranean and Caribbean music.  We called it “Mediterribbean Afternoon.”  There would be catering, cocktails, a beautiful hang, good bread plus we’d get a chance to play again in one of the holiest and acoustically lovely rooms in New Orleans.
Then came the problem.  Although we already had a lot of Caribbean music in our book, what Mediterranean music would we attempt?  Until that point, it had been an idea without a deadline and no leading candidates for eligible tunes.
Enter Joe Darensbourg.  When I was working with a Jewish themed funk band in the early 90s, Joe, a Creole from New Orleans’ Treme neighborhood, used to come out to hear us at Cafe Brasil.  Nephew of a clarinetist by the same name who recorded and toured with Louis Armstrong, and a Punk rocker in his own right, Joe was drawn to the exotic melodies we were throwing down.  He and I started hanging out, playing a little and talking about the various modes and rhythms heard in Eastern Europe.  Before long he was off to Boston to study Greek, Sephardic, Arabic, North African and Turkish music and stayed there 13 years.  Joe moved home recently and brought with him a deep cache of (and soul connection to) all kinds of Mediterranean, Eastern European and Western Asian traditions.  We began work on a set list and Joe made the gig at the Hall with us, singing in Greek, Arabic and his native Creole.
One of the numbers Joe brought in, Kaneis Edo Den Tragouda, is from Greek songwriter Nikos Papazoglou.  We learned this lament, describing the singers feelings of loss when her lover has gone, from a version by the popular chanteuse Glykeria (“Sweetness”).  At the recording session, Joe and I were trying to communicate the feel of the Greek dance tempo Zeibekiko to the other cats on the session.  We felt the closest thing in New Orleans may be what they call leadfoot, a slow, heavy step done in funeral parades to dirges like Closer Walk.  For this tune, we also called in Bulgarian-born, New Orleans living banjo and guitar man, Georgi Petrov.  He plays the vamp on tenor banjo but then breaks out his cümbüş (pron. “jumbush”), a Turkish iteration of the banjo, for the taxim  (the improvised section) over a tsifteteli groove.

Ben Schenck
Clarinetist / Leader
Panorama Jazz Band
New Orleans, LA

Download Kaneis Edo Den Tragouda (mp3)

Panorama would like to dedicate this track to the memory of a close friend of both Joe and Ben, Michael Pelias, a poet and musician with a huge heart who died last summer.  His family originated from Greece and he felt a strong kinship with the music of his ancestral homeland.
Mike, we think of you when we play Kaneis Edo Den Tragouda.  We loved you more than you knew and we’ll miss you until we see you again.  We’ll be hiding in the corner of the tavern to catch a glimpse of you.
*Quote from AJ Liebling’s “Earl of Louisiana”
“New Orleans resembles Genoa or Marseilles, or Beirut or the Egyptian Alexandria more than it does New York, although all seaports resemble on another more than they can resemble any place in the interior. Like Havana and Port-au-Prince, New Orleans is within the orbit of a Hellenistic world that never touched the North Atlantic. The Mediterranean, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico form a homogeneous, though interrupted, sea. New York and Cherbourg and Bergen are in a separate thalassic system.”

Released February 1st, 2018


It’s that time of year again folks, Mardi Gras in New Orleans! Every Fat Tuesday for the past 20-sumpn years, the Panorama Brass Band has escorted a local walking club called The St. Anthony Ramblers around the Faubourg Marigny and the French Quarter. It all began in 1997 or so with about 20 close friends and us; now it’s grown to at least 10 times that number – a rambling tribe of mystical misfits revelling in the streets seeking sensory gratification, satire and universal truth.
This year, for our annual Carnival release, we give you a little tune we always play as we step off on that beautiful morning, Oh, Didn’t He Ramble. Herein you’ll find the spirit of Mardi Gras, in all it’s inebriated glory, captured the next day, Ash Wednesday, 2013 (see also Norma la de Guadalajara, Geljan DadePurim in the QuarterBagopolier Freylekh and Boki 13). The band, tired but tight after a demanding parade schedule, knocked this one out in one take.
Oh, Didn’t He Ramble, an Irish comic song, was written and published in 1902 by the same brothers, J Rosamond and James Weldon Johnson, who gave us Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing, commonly considered the African-American National Anthem. Not only were these men performers on the Minstrel circuit, they were also social activists (JW was executive director of the NAACP from 1920 to 1930) and Harlem Renaissance intellectuals.
Oh, Didn’t He Ramble is among the most commonly performed songs in the entire canon of New Orleans Jazz. It is especially associated with the tradition of the Jazz Funeral, a happy tune played on the way home from the cemetery. The English word “Ramble” comes from the Middle Dutch, “Rammelen” which means to walk about aimlessly, often used to describe farm animals looking for a drink in the heat of the day.
Mardi Gras day is February 13th this year and if you can make it to New Orleans, come find us. Round about 9:30 that morning, after the blessing of the Red Beans and performance of the sacred St Anthony Chorale, someone will shout “Are you ready to RAMBLE?” and we’ll be off.
Special thanks to trombonist and Jazz Historian David Sager who helped shed light on the history of Oh, Didn’t He Ramble. Also huge gratitude to Ramblin’ Don Keller for the cover photo that captures the spirit of Panorama Brass with the St Anthony Ramblers on Mardi Gras Day (which is a thing).
Super special thanks to Mark Bingham for wonderful food and beautiful vibes during the recording session.

Download Oh, Didn’t He Ramble! (mp3)

Released January 1st, 2018


Lionel Belasco (1881-1967) was born in Trinidad to a Creole mother and Sephardic Jewish father. Growing up as a piano player he was more an observer than a participant in Trinidad’s Calypso scene but he began writing music, leading bands for parties and, as he traveled and lived throughout Latin America, he absorbed influences from many different cultures into his compositions. Belasco eventually landed in Harlem in the 1920s and ’30s where he made a name for himself as a Calypsonian, writing, playing and recording for New York’s burgeoning West Indian population.
“Las Palmas de Panama” is actually a medley of two separate Belasco compositions, “Las Palmas de Maracaïbo,” a Venezuelan waltz, and “Panama Paseo no. 1,” originally written on the completion of the Panama Canal. In order to segue between the different time signatures, we worked out a way to use the cross-rhythm of the waltz to set up the two-beat of the Paseo.
This is our third recording of music from Lionel Belasco (see also “Carmencita” and Esperanzas“). In contrast to its Viennese cousin, a Venezuelan waltz is an earthier, more polyrhythmic dance. The term “Paseo” (“walk” in Spanish) refers to a section of the dance where couples promenade onto the floor.

Download Las Palmas de Panama (mp3)

Released December 1st, 2017

This month, for the first time, Panorama is releasing two songs in the same month. Call it “Holiday Lagniappe.”

“Ocho Kandelikas” is our Hanukkah track while “I Wonder As I Wander,” celebrates Christmas. Give them both a listen, talk us up to your friends and let me know how the music feels in your house.

“Ocho Kandelikas” (“Eight Little Candles”) is sung in Ladino, the Jewish language of medieval Spain which is still spoken in Sephardic communities around the Balkans, Turkey, the Middle East and North Africa. The lyrics tell that “beautiful Hanukkah is here.” There will be a lot of parties with joy and happiness and we’ll eat little almond and honey pastries. After the horns set up the groove and accordionist Michael Ward-Bergeman lays down the red carpet, New Orleans chanteuse Meryl Zimmerman delivers the verse, refrain and second verse. Michael then returns to play a verse before alto saxophonist Tomas Majcherski rips a solo over a riff pattern from the clarinet and trombone.

Download Ocho Kandelikas (mp3)


“I Wonder As I Wander” was written by folklorist and composer John Jacob Niles (April 28, 1892 – March 1, 1980) who roamed Appalachia in the Summer of 1933 collecting folk ballads. As the story goes, he was in Murphy, North Carolina, attending an open-air church fund-raiser when he heard a girl singing.
Niles learned just a fragment of melody from the young woman and from it composed the song that you hear today. It is a haunting tune in a minor key that has it’s life within the central mystery of Christianity – that the king of the Universe would sacrifice his only child on behalf of “poor or’n’ry sinners like you and like I.” Each stanza ends on a major four chord which leaves the question unresolved, open-ended.

Download I Wonder As I Wander (mp3)

Released November 1st, 2017

Many years ago, before Panorama clarinetist Ben Schenck started the band, he played with an outfit called the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars. The tenor saxophonist then (and now) was a young Californian named Ben Ellman who came to New Orleans to seek his fortune in 1989. He started playing gigs with the NOKAS, knocked around with a freaky, go-for-it project called Lump, played second-line parades with the Little Rascals Brass Band and eventually hooked in with a local bar band named Galactic Prophylactic.  He still plays occasionally with the klezmers, tours internationally with that post-Meters funk institution now known as Galactic and has also made a name for himself as a successful record producer with the likes of Trombone Shorty and The Revivalists, with whom he’s recently scored a gold record.  Fortune found!
Ellman recently made time in his busy schedule to record a number with Panorama that he and Schenck used to play back in the day called the “Bubbe Tantz” (Yiddish for “Grandmother Dance”).  The present version begins with Mr Schenck calling the band to order, answered by accordionist Michael Ward-Bergeman. Then Mr Ellman delivers the main theme, popping his bell-tone and painting a portrait of a no-nonsense-yet-doting old Granny dancing  at her grandchild’s wedding.

 Download Bubbe Tantz (“Granny Dance”) (mp3)

We dedicate the “Bubbe Tantz” to the memory of Elaine Hoffman Watts who passed away on September 25th at the age of 85. She was a drummer deeply rooted in her family tradition of Yiddish music going all the way back to the Ukraine many generations ago. She was also a cultural grandmother to many of us working in the klezmer world. She and her daughter, trumpeter Susan Hoffman Lankin-Watts, were both exceptionally kind to Panorama when we played in Philadelphia last year. They loaned us a drum set and gave us sage advice on playing klezmer music. They said, “Just play it pretty.”

Released October 1st, 2017


Antoine Reynaldo Diel was born into a musical family in Manila, Philippines and grew up singing in church and at community events.  He had made the move to New Orleans in 2013 to get involved in the local music scene when Panorama clarinetist Ben Schenck heard him at the Spotted Cat with his band The Misfit Power.  They struck up a friendship and Ben, enchanted with Antoine’s tone eventually brought up the idea of a collaboration.  Antoine suggested they record “Dahil Sa Iyo” (“Because of You”) and Ben began studying the song, imagining a Panorama take on it and organizing a session.
“Dahil Sa Iyo” had its original premier in the 1938 Filipino movie “Bituing Marikit”  (“Marvelous Stars”) and represents a traditional form of Filipino serenade called Kundiman.  It crossed over to the US largely due to the English lyric by Tom Spinosa and has been recorded by Nat King Cole among others.
Antoine first sings it in the original Tagalog (the national language of the Philippines) then delivers an English version.  He suggested we set it in the tempo of a Cuban bolero (with Doug Garrison overdubbing bongos) while Ben envisioned the sound of a National Steel guitar (played by Georgi Petrov) to evoke a bit of a South Pacific tone. This track also marks the only time since our first album in 2003 (Another Hot Night In February) where we’ve recorded using string bass (here played by Martin Masakowski ) instead of tuba.

Download Dahil Sa Iyo (“Because of You”) (mp3)

Released September 1st, 2017


We were hired to play a wedding a few years ago and the couple had one request.  For their first dance they wanted a waltz originally recorded by the great “yodeling brakeman,” the father of country music, Jimmie Rodgers (1897-1933).  Miss The Mississippi And You is a sentimental ballad in which the singer, exiled to the big city, longs for his home and his sweetheart back on the banks of the Mississippi River.
Jimmie Rodgers was born near Meridian, MS, his father a foreman on the Mobile and Ohio Railroad.  Working as a water boy and later a brakeman on the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad, he learned to sing and play guitar from the other workers and hoboes he lived and worked among.  After contracting tuberculosis, he was forced to give up the railroad life and eventually set out as an entertainer.  His big break came in July 1927 when he auditioned for the Victor Talking Machine Co. in Bristol, TN and was recruited to record in Camden, NJ the next month.  In his following session for Victor, Rodgers recorded a song, written with his sister-in-law Elsie McWilliams, called Blue Yodel (aka “T For Texas”).  This record sold half a million copies, launched his career and made Jimmie Rodgers a household name.
Our version features a vocal by Panorama front-man Ben Schenck (with additional lyrics written by Ben) plus, for the first time, resonator tenor guitar with dobro overdubs by Georgi Petrov and string bass by Martin Masakowski (instead of our usual banjo and tuba). 

Download Miss the Mississipppi and You (mp3)

Released August 1st, 2017


Ed Frank (1932-1997) was a New Orleans pianist who cut his teeth in the teeming R+B scene here in the 1950s. He played at the fabled Dew Drop Inn on LaSalle Street and, as an anchor of the house band, contributed both performances and arrangements to hundreds of sessions produced by Dave Bartholomew and others at Cosimo Matassa’s J+M Studios on Rampart Street.
Over the course of his career spanning five decades, Mr Frank worked with a long list of notable musicians including Tommy Ridgely, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Junior Parker, Chuck Carbo, Dr John, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band and Snooks Eaglin among others. He also sat in frequently on Kermit Ruffin’s Monday Night Jam Session at Little People’s Place in the Treme neighborhood where Panorama clarinetist Ben Schenck got to know him.
Fruit Punch is one of Frank’s compositions that Ben learned sitting in on Kermit’s gig back in the early 90s. The entire B section hangs on a V7#9 chord, not resolving to the I until returning to the top of the form. This creates such a feeling of suspension that Kermit’s guitar player at the time, Jonathan Freilich, remarked, “you could eat a sandwich on the 5!”
But here’s an example of Mr Frank’s irrepressible spirit and creativity. When he was in his mid 20s, he suffered a stroke that left his left arm and hand partially paralyzed. He played everything, bass, chords and melody all with his right hand. Even so he was, right up to his death, one of the most sought after pianists in New Orleans.

Download Fruit Punch (mp3)

Released July 1st, 2017

Available with and without vocal track


1968 was a difficult year. Dr King and Sen Kennedy were assassinated in April and June. The My Lai massacre and Tet offensive made clear that the war in Viet Nam was only getting deeper and more bogged down. And the Flower Power consciousness of ’67 was beginning to wilt.
But what do musicians do in hard times? We bring something positive. Performed by Archie Bell and the Drells of Houston Texas, “The Tighten Up” dropped in April of that year, sold a million copies in May and reached #1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Rhythm and Blues charts that Summer. With it’s sunny major 7th chords and spunky groove it helped people stay optimistic and survive a grim period in our nation’s history. If you are feeling stressed lately, we hope our version can be of some relief to you as well.
With Vocal:

Download The Tighten Up (mp3)

Without Vocal:

Download The Tighten Up (No VOCAL) (mp3)

 

Released June 1st, 2017

Available with and without vocal track


We had a gig recently (a funeral, oddly enough) where a bunch of young children with their parents were clustered around the band. We started wondering what we could play that the kids might enjoy and figured “Old MacDonald” would be pretty straightforward. Then our banjo player, Patrick Mackey said, “let’s make it ‘Old MacDonald had a band!'” Well, it was a hit and we’ve played it at gigs several times since then. We know some of you have young ones who will be out of school soon so we whipped it out during our recording session a couple weeks ago. Add it to the Summer playlist!
With vocal:

Download Old MacDonald Had A Band (mp3)

Without vocal:

Download Old MacDonald Had A Band (No Vocal) (mp3)

 

Released May 1st, 2017

 “I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday” is a number written by Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew and recorded by everybody from Bobby Mitchell and the Toppers (1957) to Paul McCartney (30 years later). Our version (30 years after Sir Paul’s), however, is patterned after Domino’s own 1959 reading on Imperial Records that made it to #1 on the US R+B chart.

Steve kicks off the party with a big tuba “whoop” leading into a gang shout that recalls a New Orleans second- line. Ben then delivers the tune, akin to a children’s street rhyme, as a self-confident hot-shot bragging that he’ll soon be too good for his old friends. The vocal chorus is followed by inspired blows by Charlie on trombone and Tomas on alto saxophone, propelled by the rhythm section, Steve driving the bass counterpoint, with Ben giving verbal encouragement.
One thing you can say about Fats Domino, a musician who has influenced everybody in pop music right on up to the Beatles and the rest. He has never forgotten where he came from. We played a wedding back in March and afterwards one of the banquet waiters came over to us and said, “y’all played one of my favorite songs” (referring to “Wheel”). Turns out Fats Domino is his uncle. When asked after Mr Domino’s well- being, he told us that Fats, now 89 years-old, has moved out of his old house in the Lower 9th Ward, lives with his daughter out in Harvey and loves nothing more than to stay home and boil fresh seafood in the back yard with his friends, family and neighbors.
As for us, our big break is right around the corner and when it hits, you can find us by the pool in Beverly Hills.

 Download I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday (mp3)

 

Released April 1st, 2017


In commemoration of the 100th anniversary his death, and in conjunction with the Second Annual New Orleans Ragtime Festival (produced by Panorama banjoist Patrick Mackey and opening today), we offer a Scott Joplin waltz titled “Pleasant Moments.”
It was on this date 100 years ago that Joplin, the great American composer, died in New York. He was buried in a pauper’s grave in East Elmhurst Queens which remained unmarked until 1974 when his music enjoyed a popular revival. Joplin was posthumously awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1976.
Although better known for such rags as “The Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer,” Joplin’s catalogue includes compositions in a variety of styles and genres including a ballet and two operas. This waltz, originally published in 1909, comes from the days before recorded sound, when many homes included a piano and sheet music was the primary medium by which popular songs were circulated.
Panorama clarinetist and bandleader Ben Schenck asked Patrick to select a Joplin piece for him to arrange. Patrick recommended “Pleasant Moments” and then, working from the piano score, Ben made an arrangement for the band and the recording session was held just last Tuesday. The musicians learned the chart then played it down several times until everybody really dug the music within the notes on the page. And from that session, we have yet another lovely, interesting and wholly different-type track for you to add to your Panoramaland collection.
Thanks for listening.

Download Pleasant Moments (mp3)

 

Released March 1st, 2017

A Hassidic melody for Lent.

Friends, Panorama appears to have survived another Mardi Gras in New Orleans (although it’s still too soon to say for sure). It was a fun, raucous 17 day ramble, ecstatic at times, stressful at times, through a physically and psychically demanding parade and gig schedule. Now it’s over and today is Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of a welcome period of purification, introspection and quiet being. What better way to welcome in the Lenten season, sacred in the Catholic tradition, than with a lovely Hassidic melody?
“Joshua Yaakov,” from the pen of Hassidic clarinetist Andy Statman, is a tune which, according to Panorama bass man Mark Rubin, sings of “an intense yearning for spiritual union with the creator.” Mark, who plays a sweet F helicon on this track, has also worked extensively with Mr. Statman and tells that “we can never, in this life, reach that moment of communion with the divine so we find ourselves continually climbing, striving, and then receding.” Mark explained all of this to the rest of us before rolling tape and we tried to play the music in that spirit.

Download Joshua Yaakov (mp3)

 

Released February 1st, 2017

For our third annual Mardi Gras drop, we bring you a favorite of the Panorama Brass Band that, when the low brass and drums strike up the intro vamp, always sets the crowd to rocking. 
“Boki 13”, brought in by tenor horn man Don Godwin, is another from the legendary Ash Wednesday 2013 session at Piety Street Studios where the band, tired but tight after a hectic Carnival parade schedule, threw this one down in one take.  It features a reggae-style back beat with quasi-hip hop swung 16th notes, some Q and A between the lead horns and a smoking trombone solo followed by a drum break.
The title refers to a sensational Macedonian drag queen and entertainment personality, Boki 13.  We admire him (his choice of pronoun) for his determination to be fully himself at all times no matter what the political climate and claim the same for ourselves and all people.  This one in particular goes out as a celebration of non-conformists everywhere and anybody, whether considered “normal” or something else, who has ever had to take a stand for who they are.

Download Boki 13 (mp3)

 

Released January 1st, 2017


Recorded in a hastily arranged session on Wednesday, December 28, this has been our quickest turnaround yet. Once it became suddenly clear that our song-of-the-month club Good Music For You would indeed begin breaking even in 2016, we knew we had to get something together by January 1st. And for this one we’ve pulled out all the stops.
“Ba Moin En Ti Bo Doudou” (“Give Me A Little Kiss Sweetie”) is another of our Creole beguines that we play at damn near every gig. This party includes a run down of the melody, a quick version of “Happy Birthday” (which has the same chord changes), a trombone solo, an alternate version of the melody played by two clarinets plus a 36 bar percussion throwdown before the clarinets recap the head (up a whole step) and take it out.

Download Ba Moin En Ti Bo Doudou (mp3)

 

Released December 1st, 2016

wassail-wassail

Do you love Christmas but need some new music for your playlist? Here is a traditional English wassail song you may not have heard.

The word “wassail” goes back to medieval times in England and means “to your health.” Revelers there still go house to house singing and toasting the residents who are expected to provide mulled wine or cider to add to the frivolity.
Our Yuletide offering this year features New Orleans vocalist Jane Harvey Brown. Folks here are no strangers to a drunken ramble and Jane’s sassy, brassy tone never fails to start a party.
“Joy be to you and a jolly wassail!”
Also check out our Christmas releases from the last two years, Jingle Bells (December 2015) and Christmas (Like Ya Just Don’t Care) (December 2014)

Download Wassail Wassail (mp3)

 

Released November 1st, 2016

bagopolier-freylekh
For the past two years in November, even though it was still several weeks early, we released a Hanukkah themed tune.  In both cases, the music was comprised of traditional Jewish instrumental melodies for which we fashioned new titles to repackage them as holiday songs.  Call it show biz or maybe “The Folk Process.”
Your Panorama track for November, “Bagopolier Freylekh,” is another Jewish instrumental melody but this time let’s skip the pretense. Just a hard-rocking klezmer tune played by a brass band full of swagger. This is another one from Panorama Brass Band’s legendary Ash Wednesday 2013 session at Piety Street Studios. On this number you’ll hear the gang, tired but tight from a busy Carnival schedule, banging out a wedding dance that feels here more like a rowdy street party.  

Download Bagopolier Freylekh (mp3)

 

Released October 1st, 2016

Cumbia featuring Dr. Michael White (clarinet) with the Panorama Brass Band
Cumbia featuring Dr. Michael White (clarinet) with the Panorama Brass Band

Ben met Dr. Michael White on the Mall in Washington DC back in the Summer of 1985. They struck up a conversation that day and within a couple years, after Ben relocated to New Orleans, they became fast friends. Now, over 30 years later, they have finally made their first recording together!
The selection, a cumbia titled “Tolú,” was written and originally recorded by the great Colombian clarinetist and bandleader Lucho Bermúdez and his Orchestra. Cumbia music, Bermúdez’ stock in trade, originates among the Afro-Latin people along Columbia’s Caribbean coast and this tune’s title refers to a town in that region.

Download Tolú (mp3)

 

Released September 1st, 2016

An ode to Katrina survivors, wherever you are.
An ode to Katrina survivors, wherever you are.

On September 1st, 2005, 11 years ago, the members of your personal Jazz Band all found themselves in unfamiliar places watching television as their hometown was inundated by the waters of Lake Pontchartrain and their compatriots struggled to survive in the chaos that ensued. Clarinetist and bandleader Ben Schenck, along with his wife and her brother, piano-man, bandleader and songwriter (and eventual HBO character) Davis Rogan, managed to find a soft place to land with good friends in Baton Rouge from where they were able to plot their return to New Orleans.
Our offering for this September 1st features Davis and Ben playing and singing the perennial favorite, “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think).” They have each written a new verse on the same theme and Davis also gives a monologue in praise of those New Orleanians who brought a little piece of home with them wherever they went in the aftermath of the levee failures.

Download Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think) (mp3)

 

Released August 1st, 2016

Blue Star Jubilee (100th track)

Friends, here it is – Panorama’s 100th track of all time, the “Blue Star Jubilee.” And this one’s a banger.

We released our first album, Another Hot Night in February, in April 2003 and those 16 songs put us on the trajectory that has led to this moment. Katrina slowed us down a little, becoming parents slowed us down a lot, but now, 13 years later, we offer you number 100 and hope that you enjoy it.
Although we don’t know the tune’s original title, Plave Zvezde (“Blue Stars” in the Serbian language) is the name of the Roma wedding band from whom we learned this month’s presentation. The arrangement was brought in by Panorama Flugelhorn man JR Hankins with input from Patrick Farrell (who you will have heard on alto horn with the brass band and accordion on the Jazz Band’s first 2 albums). The form is basically a series of super-bad riff patterns with a couple solo breaks and an ad -lib section featuring the alto saxophones.

Download Blue Star Jubilee (mp3)

 

Released July 1st, 2016

The Mazurka is Beginning!
The Mazurka is Beginning!

The Creole mazurka, “la mazouk,” is a fashionable dance in the Caribbean, featuring a syncopated three beat pattern. Instead of a waltz, think of a biguine (such as “Serpent Maigre, our May 2014 release) with an extra beat.
We learned this month’s track-of-the-month, “La Mazouk En Avant,” from a recording made by Martinique clarinet hero Eugène Delouche in 1953 that featured a vocal by David Martial. Our version spotlights New Orleans chanteuse and Panorama collaborator Jane Harvey Brown (check out our May 2016 release, “Shame Shame Shame,” as well as three tunes on our Panoramaland CD, “Don’t Touch Me Tomato,” “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” and “If You Love Me“). You will also hear instrumental solos by Panorama saxophonist Aurora Nealand and our trombonist Charlie Halloran.
Special thanks to the France-based vocalist Sylvain Padra, originally from Martinique, who transcribed the lyrics from the original Delouche recording as well as to the Haitian-born, New Orleans-living teacher, Yves Conséant, for providing the English translation.

Download La Mazouk En Avant (mp3)

 

Released June 1st, 2016

Pembe Oro

Pembe Oro is a very popular tune in Macedonia that comes to us via our accordionist Matt Schreiber.  The title means “Pink Dance” (although we’re not sure what that refers to).

In Macedonia or Southern Bulgaria you might hear a plucked and fretted stringed instrument called a Tambura that is commonly used in folkloric music.  Our recording features guest banjoist, Bulgaria-born and New Orleans-living Georgi Petrov, playing a tenor banjo he borrowed for the session from our regular player, Patrick Mackey.  This particular instrument, like the tambura, the mandolin or the 12-string guitar, features double string courses where there are eight strings, instead of four, tuned in unisons or octaves.  With it’s brighter sound and longer decay, it lends the track a bit of a different flavor than anything we’ve heard so far in Panorama’s output.

Download Pembe Oro (mp3)

 

Released May 1st, 2016

Shame Shame Shame
This song, 25th in this series of monthly drops, represents our first foray into the realm of top 40 pop music.  “Shame Shame Shame” by Shirley and Company, hit the charts in 1974 and made it to #1 on the Soul charts, #12 on Billboard.
Here’s the New Orleans connection.  Raise your hand if you remember the old R&B hit, “Let The Good Times Roll.”  How about “Feels So Good,” both by an act called Shirley and Lee?  That’s the same, Shirley, Shirley Goodman, born in New Orleans 1936, as you hear on “Shame Shame Shame.”  She was in her teens and twenties in the 1950’s with Lee and in her thirties and forties in the 1970’s with “Company,” featuring the Cuban-born singer from Newark, New Jersey named Jesus Alvarez.
Our version employs more of a samba feel while maintaining the Cuban clave beat and spotlights New Orleans vocalists Jane Harvey Brown (who you can also hear on our second album, Panoramaland) as well as Ben’s brother-in-law, New Orleans bandleader, songwriter, piano player and HBO character, Davis Rogan.

Download Shame Shame Shame (mp3)

 

Released April 1st, 2016

Mellow Down EasyWritten by Willie Dixon and originally recorded by harmonica innovator and Louisiana native Little Walter, this Chicago blues party caught our ears a few years ago and we started playing it on our weekly Saturday night gig at the Spotted Cat.

Our version, which banjo man Patrick Mackey nicknamed “Wiggle Wiggle,” features a vocal by Panorama front-man Ben Schenck, an accordion blues chorus by special guest Michael Ward-Bergeman, a go on the trombone by long-time Panoramian Charlie Halloran and a ride by guest saxophonist Tomas Majcherski.  The groove is propelled by Mackey, tuba ace Matt Perrine and Paul Thibodeaux on the drums.

Download Mellow Down Easy (mp3)

 

Released March 1st, 2016

Mayhem on the streets of the French Quarter! Again!
Mayhem on the streets of the French Quarter! Again!

Drunken revelers in masks and costumes rolling through the streets of the French Quarter followed by a raucous brass band!  Wait a minute, didn’t we just do that?  But this isn’t Mardi Gras, this time it’s the Jewish holiday of Purim.
These drunken revelers are members of New Orleans’ Krewe du Jieux and Purim is the Jewish holiday celebrating the biblical story of Esther in which she and her cousin, Mordecai, triumph over Haman, adviser to the Persian king, who wants to kill all Jews in the Empire.
Many thanks to Mark Rubin and Henry Sapoznik for bringing this music to Panorama.  Thanks also to Mr Sapoznik for editing our liner notes.

Download Purim in the Quarter (mp3)

 

Released February 1st, 2016

Geljan Dade 2
Geljan Dade (pron. “Ghel-yon Dod-day”) was brought to the Brass Band by accordionist and alto horn man Patrick Farrell.  Although the song’s origin is unknown to us, it was originally popularized by the late Serbian-Romani (Gypsy) vocalist Šaban Bajramovic, from the southern Serbian city of Niš.
The title means “Father is Gone” in Romani and refers to the singer’s father having travelled to America. Geljan Dade has been performed and recorded by bands around the world and Patrick’s arrangement is based on a recording by Orkestar Bakije Bakica from the southern Serbian village of Vranje.
Panorama Brass Band has gotten a lot of mileage out of this tune for the past several years.  It has become a Mardi Gras favorite of our dance team, the Panoramblers, as well as our mother-krewe, the Saint Anthony Ramblers.

Download Geljan Dade (mp3)

 

Released January 1st, 2016

A breath of fresh air from the Caribbean.
A breath of fresh air from the Caribbean.

Your Panorama track for January is a breath of fresh air from the Caribbean, a Creole biguine titled “Parfum Des Îsles” (Perfume of the Islands), written by Guadeloupean clarinetist, saxophonist and pianist Édouard Pajaniandy (aka Mariépin, 1916-2004).
Our interpretation spotlights Panorama saxophonist Aurora Nealand, delivering the line with increasing warmth over the lovely rhythmic foundation provided by drummer Doug Garrison, tuba man Steve Glenn and Patrick Mackey, who swaps his banjo for tenor guitar on this track.  The arrangement, by clarinetist and leader Ben Schenck, features accompanying horn parts and a chord-melody intro delivered first on the tenor guitar, used later by the horns to segue back to the head.

Download Parfum Des Îsles (mp3)

 

Released December 1st, 2015

Jingle Bells
For our annual Christmas release this year, we present another familiar tune in an unfamiliar style: Jingle Bells as a Bulgarian rachenitza.  This folk dance, an up-tempo seven, fits the melody of Jingle Bells and gives listeners a challenge on the dance floor (hint: the beat pattern is 4+3).
The track opens with a tuba vamp originated by the legendary Anthony “Tuba Fats” Lacen and borrowed from the Treme Brass Band’s 1995 recording of “Food Stamp Blues.”  After one time down, Matt Schreiber (accordion) and Ben Schenck (clarinet) give lengthy ad lib solos on different makams (Turkish scales), energy building, until at last the band finally breaks into 4/4 (cue the sleigh bells).  Then, with the return to the top, once again in seven, it somehow feels this time like the right way to celebrate Christmas.

Download Jingle Bells (mp3)

 

Released November 1st, 2015

A great miracle happened there.
A great miracle happened there.

Last November we put out a klezmer number, based on old Hassidic melodies, that we called “Home for the Holidays” (scroll down to Nov 1, 2014).  It was loosely intended as our first annual Hanukkah release.  This year’s drop is called “Hanukkah on Japonica” and features a traditional Jewish bulgar (“The Voliner Bulgar”) with a Hanukkah song (“Sevivon”) folded in.
Japonica Street is the “lowest street in the upper Ninth Ward,” right next to the Industrial Canal.  In this recording, we imagine the drums and clarinet calling everybody out of their houses to come celebrate the Festival of Lights.  The accordion, tuba, banjo trombone and saxophone quickly fall in and it soon becomes apparent that “a great miracle happened there!”

Download Hanukkah on Japonica (mp3)

 

Released October 1st, 2015

"Remembering Venezuela"
“Remembering Venezuela”

Last month we put out the first, titled “Esperanzas” (“Hopes”), of two Venezuelan waltzes.  Your Venezuelan waltz for October features the wonderful Venezuela-born, New Orleans-living vocalist, Yulene Velásquez, and her husband, accordionist Michael Ward-Bergman, in a lovely, nostalgic rhapsody called “Recordando a Venezuela” (“Remembering Venezuela”).
Lyricist Gerardo Petit wrote the poem in the early 1970s upon encountering a statue of “El Libertador,” Simón Bolívar, in Central Park, New York City.  The words tell of his longing for his homeland and his pride in being Venezuelan.  The lyrics were set to music by award winning Venezuelan composer Manuel Delgado and we present here our version arranged by Ms. Velásquez and Panorama clarinetist Ben Schenck.

Download Recordando a Venezuela (mp3)

 

Released September 1st, 2015

Venezuelan Waltz
Venezuelan Waltz

Your Panorama track for September represents a genre that has become increasingly important for the band over the past decade, that of the Venezuelan Waltz.  Titled “Esperanzas” (“Hopes”) and originally recorded in New York in 1918, this is the first of two Venezuelan waltzes for the Fall and our second from the repertoire of Trinidadian composer and pianist Lionel Belasco (1881-1967).
Compared to the better known Viennese waltz, the South American counterpart has an earthier and more polyrhythmic groove.  Check out the maraca work of Panorama drummer Doug Garrison and stay tuned for next month’s release, “Recordando A Venezuela,” which features the Venezezuela-born, New Orleans chanteuse Yulene Velásquez in a heart-felt performance that adds yet another stamp to the band’s passport. 

Download Esperanzas (mp3)

 

Released August 1st, 2015

Keep On GwineYour Panorama track for August has the feel of a hot, humid, August afternoon strut through one of the Crescent City’s more rhythmic neighborhoods.  This tune, “Keep On Gwine,” was popularized by the Piano Prince of New Orleans, James Booker and has been covered by countless of Booker’s followers.  With this offering, we hope to rank in that number.

Download Keep on Gwine (mp3)

 

Released July 1st, 2015

Les Deux JumeauxYour Panorama track for July is another Creole biguine, this one from the repertoire of Martiniquan clarinetist Eugène Delouche and written by his collaborator, guitarist Pollo Malahel. The tropical dance melody has been in the Panorama book since our first gig 20 years ago and features our “Summertime cats” (filling in for those Panoramians who have evacuated to cooler territories) with music for your Fourth of July barbecue.

Download Les Deux Jumeaux (mp3)

 

Released June 1st, 2015

Waltz in the Wild
Waltz in the Wild

Your Panorama track for June 2015 is from a video we shot in June of last year just over the Mississippi levee for a series produced by Laine Kaplan-Levenson and Hard Road Pictures called Levee Acoustics. Our late friend and collaborator, Bill Deputy, was the sound engineer on the project and he made a mix of this waltz for us to release as part of this “track of the month” series.

 Download Si O No Vals (mp3)

 

Released May 1st, 2015

Towtruck Chocheck (Live)Your Panorama track for May is another one from our March 6th gig at the Old US Mint which is operated by the Louisiana State Museum and the National Park Service.
A chocheck is a traditional dance from the Roma people (“Gypsies”) of Southeastern Europe.  Although the step is different, the groove is very similar to a New Orleans second line.  Dig, if you will, Matt Perrine’s reference to “Hey Pocky Way” in the tuba vamp behind the solos.  And pay special attention to Tomas Majcherski’s silky saxophone solo.

Download Towtruck Chocheck (live) (mp3)

 

Released April 1st, 2015

Dance The Mazurka!
Dance The Mazurka!

April’s Panorama drop is a Creole mazurka we recorded just the other day, March 6th, at one of our favorite venues in New Orleans, the Old US Mint which is run by the Louisiana State Museum and the National Park Service.  Known as a “Mazouk” in Creole, this rhythm is similar to the biguines we’ve been offering, but in three quarter time, with an extra beat each measure.  This is no waltz, however, but a hot, syncopated three.

Download Dansez La Mazouk (mp3)

 

Released March 1st, 2015

Peacock Tail FeatherAs Panorama celebrates our 20th year, we are joined by another New Orleans institution, ArtSpot Productions, which also began performing around the same time and whose evolution has paralleled ours these past two decades. In 1996 Panorama clarinetist and founder, Ben Schenck, appeared in a piece ArtSpot and director Kathy Randels produced called How To Be a Man in the 21st Century.  This month’s release is a song that Ben wrote for that show and ArtSpot included in their 2012 CD, I Know This To Be True.

Download Peacock Tail Feather (mp3)

 

Released February 1st, 2015

A Mambo for Mardi Gras
A Mambo for Mardi Gras

In honor of Mardi Gras here in New Orleans, this month’s release features our marching outfit, the Panorama Brass Band with a mambo from the “Mambo King,” Pérez Prado y su Orquesta.  We recorded this one, tired but no worse for the wear, on Ash Wednesday 2013, after a frenetic carnival season that culminated in the annual ramble with our patron krewe, the St. Anthony Ramblers.
 

Download Norma La De Guadalajara (mp3)

 

Released January 1st, 2015

Cuando EL Mundo ComenzóWhat better way to celebrate the start of a new year than with a merengue whose title recalls the creation of the world.
A few years ago, banjoman Patrick Mackey’s brother took a trip with his wife to St Croix in the US Virgin Islands. While they were there, they heard a band called Jamesie and His Musical Kafooners playing traditional “scratch” music and bought a cassette. They gave the tape to Patrick who was captivated by one of the tunes which he eventually transcribed and arranged for Panorama.

Download Cuando El Mundo Comenzó (mp3)

 

Released December 1st, 2014

Christmas (Like Ya Just Don't Care)Your December Panorama track is a Christmas tune we’re calling, Christmas (Like Ya Just Don’t Care).  It’s based on the traditional English carol, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen but, after one time down in the traditional minor key, the banjo and floor tom interrupt and we find ourselves in the parallel major for a New Orleans street party.

We hope you’ll enjoy something fresh-yet-recognizable this holiday season and put it in steady rotation.  Wave your hands up in the air and celebrate Christmas like ya just don’t care!

Super extra thanks to Charlie Zeleny for special graphics.

Download Christmas (Like Ya Just Don’t Care) (mp3)

(Mac Users:
TO STREAM:  click “download” from Desktop or iPhone
TO DOWNLOAD:  ctrl-click “download,” choose “Download linked file”)

 

Released November 1st, 2014

A Freylikh Yontif!
A Freylikhn Yontif!

November’s drop, which we’re calling “Home for the Holidays,” is an old collection of hassidic melodies originally recorded in New York City, 1927, by the Boibriker Kapelle (featuring the legendary Dave Tarras on clarinet) under the title “Ch’sidishe Nigunim.”

Download Home For The Holidays (mp3) 

 

Released October 1st, 2014

Panorama Jazz Band feat. Katherine McClain, soprano
Panorama Jazz Band feat. Katherine McClain, soprano

Our October 2014 track is something completely new and different for us.  While it is our second recording that originates from the realm of classical music (nineteenth century Paris, in fact – see our August release, below), it is our first foray into the world of opera.  For this, we are privileged to collaborate with the multi-faceted New Orleans vocalist Katherine McClain whose special talent is that of the coloratura soprano.

Download Je Veux Vivre (mp3)

 

Released September 1st, 2014

Hot Creole Biguine
Hot Creole Biguine

September’s track is another biguine from Martinique (see our May release, Serpent Maigre, below).  But where the first is a sunny romp in Bb major, Mettez I Dehro (“Put Him Out,” in Creole) begins with a more serious and aggressive type of party in G minor.  Until we arrive at the B section, that is, when we find ourselves in Bb again.

Download Mettez I Dehro (mp3)

 

Released August 1st, 2014

Sicilienne
Music from Belle Époque Paris

Gabriel Fauré wrote his Sicilienne, Op. 78 in Paris 1893, during the period known as “La Belle Époque.”  Think Art Nouveau, the Folies Bergère, the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec and the bohemian lifestyle in the cafés of Montmartre.

Download Sicilienne, Op. 78 (mp3)

 

Released July 1st, 2014

Shikerer Tantz Small
Confidence = High, Coordination = Low

Di Shikerer Tantz (“Drunkard Dance”) is a melodic line we’ve been playing in the Panorama Brass Band for several years.  It works great out on the parade route, especially the night parades.  From there we brought it into the Jazz Band and even had a round of shnapps brought to the bandstand by an appreciative festival goer when we played it at the French Quarter Festival a few years ago.

Download Di Shikerer Tantz (“Drunkard Dance”) (mp3)

 

Released June 1st, 2014

Small Chororo
Chart topper Yugoslvia 1969

This month’s track, titled Chororo, was brought in by Matt Schreiber who recently moved with his wife to New Orleans from Portland Maine to fill Panorama’s accordion chair.
Chororo ranked number one on the Yugoslav folk music chart for the year 1969 and Matt learned it in 2011 on a visit to Serbia from a young accordionist named Ljuba Petrovic.  Ljuba is the great nephew of the accordionist Duško Petrovic who, born into a family of famous musicians in the Romani community of Grabovica, wrote and recorded the original hit.

Download Chororo (mp3)

 

Released May 1st, 2014

Small Serpent Maigre
Music from Martinique

Serpent Maigre (aka Sèpan Meg) is a biguine from the repertoire of Martiniquan clarinetist Alexandre Stellio (1885-1939) who led a band in Paris in the 1920s and ’30s. Charlie discovered it a couple years ago on a biguine compilation he ran across and we started messing around with it at our weekly gigs. 

Download Serpent Maigre (mp3)