The David Ricard Big Band Does “Classical Music’s Greatest Hits”: Sarah White, Guest Blog
Writer Sarah White hit me with a great pitch for this musician I had never heard about: >David Ricard. That I haven’t heard of him means NOTHING. That I loved what I heard when I listened to a fraction of a few songs– says everything!!
Here’s Sarah’s review on the latest from David Ricard, ” Hey I Know This Song”.
Imagine if Tchaikovsky wrote “Swan Lake” during the swing era. What if Johann Strauss wasn’t known as the “Waltz King,” but the “Samba King?” How about if Bizet’s opera, Carmen, were composed during the swinging 60s?
Some of the most iconic themes from classical music have been arranged by Los Angeles composer, David Ricard, whose big band debuted its first album, “Hey! I know This Song! Vol. 1,” with swinging covers of Beethoven, Mozart, Ravel, Strauss, Greig, Saint-Saëns, Wagner and Mendelssohn. Maybe you don’t fancy yourself a classical music expert, but as soon as you hear the versions performed by the David Ricard Big Band, you’ll be saying exactly what the title suggests: “Hey! I know this song!”
Cover songs of classical music is not a new concept (some might argue that the form reached perfection with “Night on Disco Mountain”), but what makes the David Ricard Big Band unique is the way each classical tune is done in a familiar big band style. For instance, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 (better known as “Beethoven’s 5th”) is reimagined in “Beethoven Five-O” with a mysterious film noir vibe, reminiscent of Mancini’s “Pink Panther” theme. Ricard’s version of the famous “Habanera” aria from the opera Carmen could have easily scored an Austin Powers-worthy dance number. Saint-Saëns’s beautiful meditation on the swan, played famously by cellist Yo-Yo Ma, becomes an explosive big band bossa nova. The roaring jazz version of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake sounds more like Benny Goodman’s “Sing! Sing! Sing!” than anything from a ballet.
David Ricard,a prolific cartoon composer (Tom & Jerry, The Pink Panther & Pals, Maya & Miguel) and the bass player on the album, got the idea for “Hey! I Know This Song!” after being approached by a music library to write sound-alike big band tracks.
“It started me thinking about how I could write songs that had the vibe of a tune but still take it somewhere totally new” he said. “I had already attempted a few big band arrangements of classical tunes but felt that they lacked something special. Then I remembered the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercials. You know, ‘You got peanut butter in my chocolate … You got chocolate in my peanut butter!’, and I started to realize that these two ideas could be fused into one very interesting project.”
The end result is an album of 10 high-energy tracks that will delight listeners — whether you’re a jazz fan, a classical music aficionado, or just a lover of pop culture.
“I think this record is going to appeal to a wide range of music lovers,” says Ricard. “It’s not too jazzy, and it’s not too stuffy. It’s a great balance and listeners, I hope, will sense all of the fun that went into writing and recording it.”
“Hey! I Know This Song!” is available on iTunes, Amazon and DavidRicard.com. Check out the teaser below.
Thanks to Sarah White, guest blogger for this AMAZING piece. I practically jumped at the chance when I heard the pitch (pun intended) on this new release. KILLER idea. So sharp and such great music.
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