Friday, October 2 at 7:30 p.m. – Hering Auditorium
The work of Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox has been viewed on the ensemble’s YouTube channel well over a hundred million times. Most of those doing the viewing, however, are not fully aware of the method to Bradlee’s madness. On the surface, the method is video—clips of full-band performances (that’s Bradlee on piano) shot in the bandleader’s living room with a single stationary camera. The madness: pop hits of the present performed à la pop hits of the past. Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop” assayed as a doo- wop number; Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” tricked out in flapper jazz; Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” rendered a 1940s big-band standard.
The repertoire Bradlee selects for PMJ’s vocal artists has furnished a platform for some very talented but previously little-known performers. And it’s not just the eyeballs afforded by YouTube; Bradlee provides an intuitive musical context for the singular gifts of these singers that allows them to be seen in a new light—it’s as if he’s somehow cracked the code to their essential appeal.
Bradlee’s educating his audience about 20th-century song styles; he’s commenting on the elasticity of the pop form; he’s confounding cultural context; he’s uniting generations; he’s breaking the rules. He’s manifesting postmodernist ideas in his approach to production and business as well as music. But as far as the fans are concerned, it’s just fun (and sometimes funny). Bradlee himself will tell you, simply, “I re-imagine a song in another style because I want to hear it that way.”
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We are so excited to kick the FCA 68th season off with Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. A group that appeals to all ages who takes a fresh and unique approach, taking current popular hits and translating them into something with a vintage flair. Their popularity stems almost exclusively from the internet, their Youtube videos have received hundreds of millions of hits, turning many of the artists working with leader Scott Bradley into stars. What I love about PMJ, is that while they have gained their popularity through videos made in Bradley’s living room, their live performances are dedicated to creating an ambiance, an overall environment that takes the whole audience along on a journey back to the Golden Age (1920’s-60’s) of Hollywood with them. It’s Lawrence Welk… but with a lot more twerk!