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Les Deutsch's Raymond Scott Page
This page is devoted to Les Deutsch's (my) work transcribing and arranging the musical compositions of Raymond Scott. Scott is one of those composers that few have heard of. Yet he wrote some of the most instantly recognized music of the 20th century - maybe of all time. Rather than try to explain him here, I suggest interested people go to the official Raymond Scott Web site.

For those of you who have arrived on the page directly from Raymond Scott-related places, be sure to visit the rest of the Night Blooming Jazzmen site to learn about this great Dixieland band.

Most of my efforts in preserving Scott's music have been devoted to careful transcription of the recordings of his "Quintette." These fantastic arrangements for six instruments (he avoided the word "sextet" for various reasons) were not written down at the time. Instead, Scott worked them out with his musicians and they committed them directly to memory. My transcriptions are often the only written versions of these pieces of music and so they are performed by ensembles around the world. They are all available through RaymondScott.net. You can see a list of the arrangements I have completed here.

Several top-notch groups have used these transcriptions for concerts and recordings. Recently, the Quintette 7, an ensemble within the US Army West Point Band, released "Quintette 7 Plays the Music of Raymond Scott." This is an all-professional group of extremely fine musicians. Other than subsituting tuba for string bass (as a tuba player, I see no problem in this!) and adding some auxilliary percussion, this recording is very true to the original Scott sound - in fact I think it is an imporvement. Their web site includes several full-length sound files too.

Stu Brown has been playing Raymand Scott's music (making use of many of my transcriptions) for a couple years already. He has released "Twisted Toons - The Music of Raymond Scott" you can find out more about this recording and listen to several performances at the Raymond Scott Project. This is another find professional group.

On May 18, 2009, I had the opportunity to perform several of these transcriptions at my alma mater, the California Institute of Technology (Caltech.) Though Caltech is not known for its music program, we have an unexpected number of fine musicians among our students, faculty, and staff. I have included the live recordings of all the music from this concert on this page. The recordings were made by Johnny Brugman (the trumpeter's son) using a hand-held digital recorder. The only editing that has been done to these files is a careful re-equalization to remove as much of the room acoustics as possible. I achieved this in my own studio using Digital Performer. You can download the poster that we used to advertise the concert as well as the program.

Here is a photo (courtesy of Bill Bing) of the concert at Caltech. It was held in Dabney Lounge, a room that is constructed in the style of old European castle great halls. It seats about 200 people, just the right size for this sort of concert.
We had couple of very special guests at this concert too. The woman on the left is Mitzi Scott, Raymond Scott's widow. The woman on the right is Deborah Scott Studebaker, the daughter of Raymond Scott and Dorothy Collins. I am the one in the middle. This photo was also taken by Bill Bing. Celebrities
The musicians in this concert, the Caltech Jazz Quintette, were
Lynne Snyder – Clarinet
John Brugman – Trumpet
Jim VanDeventer – Tenor Sax and Clarinet
Les Deutsch – Piano
Kevin Chen – Bass
Mike Ferrara – Drums
In addition, we featured Kjerstin Williams on vocals, allowing us to perform some of Scott's songs and music he wrote for his second wife, Dorothy Collins.
The Toy Trumpet – Featuring John Brugman on trumpet
Minuet in Jazz
Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals – Featuring Mike Ferrara on drums
Egyptian Barn Dance
Quintette Plays Carmen
A Boy Scout in Switzerland
A Little Bit of Rigoletto
Snake Woman
Curley Cue
Swing, Swing Mother in Law – Kjerstin Williams, Vocal, and Les Deutsch, Piano
Mountain High, Valley Low – Kjerstin Williams, Vocal, and Les Deutsch, Piano
Moonlight on the Ganges (Meyers & Wallace, Arranged by R. Scott) – Kjerstin Williams, vocal
Tiger Rag (LaRocca, Arranged by R. Scott) – Kjerstin Williams, vocal

In addition to transcribing some 30 of Scott's original "Quintette" recordings, I have been creating arrangements of Scott's music for contemporary big band. This is a standard instrumentation used by high schools and colleges in their music departments. The idea is to make Scott's music more accessible to the schools and further promote his musical legacy. All of my big band charts are also available through RaymondScott.com. I do this as a fun and completely non-profit project. I do not need your donations (thank goodness!)

Here are four recordings of my big band charts that were performed on January 23, 2009 at Caltech's Beckman Auditorium. The concert featured both of Caltech's big bands with guest artist Flea. Flea is an honest-to-goodness rock star. He is the bassist and one of the founders of The Red Hot Chili Peppers - and also quite a good jazz trumpet player. He is also one of the most professional and nicest celebrities with whom I have had the pleasure performing. Flea is not playing on any of the Scott pieces. He had not heard of Scott until the concert - but I think we made an impression on him.

The Caltech Monday Jazz Band is an all-student band. Understand that Caltech has no music department so all the players are doing this for fun and have only one rehearsal each week. The Caltech Thursday Jazz Band (in which I played tenor sax at this concert) is open to faculty, staff, members of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (its run by Caltech) and some particularly good community players. Both bands rehearse on Monday evenings! However, many years ago, the Thursday band rehearsed on Thursday. We call the bands with these names to avoid having an "A" and "B" band.

"In an 18th Century Drawing Room" is an update of a stock arrangement that was published in the 40s. I have completely re-edited the parts as well as changed the instrumentation. It features John Brugman on trumpet and Matt Whited on piano. "Christmas Night in Harlem" is based on the "Chesterfield" arrangement performed by Paul Whiteman's Orchestra at the 1939 New York World's Fair, featuring Jack Teagarten on trombone and vocal. I have rescored this for modern big band, and rearranged the vocal to have a more prominent role. I have also updated the non-PC lyrics (I apologies to Mitchell Parish who wrote the original lyrics.) It features Kjerstin Williams on the vocal. By coincidence, Kjerstin is also a trombonist - but I still cut out the trombone solo. "The Toy Trumpet" and "Yesterday's Ice Cubes" are totally original arrangements. Brenda Goforth Adelante is featured on "Toy Trumpet."

Caltech Thursday Jazz Band
Caltech Thursday Jazz Band
Caltech Thursday Jazz Band
Caltech Monday Jazz Band
I wanted to take one Raymond Scott tune and create a completely contemporary big band arrangement as it would be played by today's bands. Since Scott was always ahead of his time, I do not think he would object at all to this. I chose Scott's tune "Celebration on the Planet Mars" because it really fits with Caltech and JPL. We are the ones, after all, who build the Mars rovers and orbiters for NASA. You have seen news stories of people celebrating in the JPL control room when one of these spacecraft arrivse at Mars. Now we have some music to go with it. This is a no-holds-barred setting complete with adlib solos, complex chords, and a lot of interesting voicing. The recording here is from Caltech/Occidental College's annual band concert, Bandorama, on May 9, 2009, in Ramo Auditorium. The group is the Caltech Thursday Jazz Band, featuring Steve Snyder on Alto Sax, Jim Lewis on Trombone, and Mike Ferrera on Drums. I am, interestingly enough, in the audience. I had to miss too many rehearsals this quarter to play with the Jazz Band that night - but I DID play tuba with the wind ensemble.
Caltech Thursday Jazz Band
As a concert organist, I could not resist arranging some Raymond Scott tunes for organ. I chose "Powerhouse" for my first because of its universal recognizability. The recording here is actually a merging of two of my projects: my Raymond Scott transcriptions and my organ design effort. The organ used in this recording is one of the "Hauptwerk" instruments I created using existing samples of pipe organ ranks. This is my "Three-Manual English Organ". I assembled it from pipe samples from three different English parish organs and some help from professional organ voicer Mark Williams. The second arrangement for organ is "In an 18th Century Drawing Room." It is very close to the original Scott recording and quite difficult to play. It is recording on another of my "Hauptwerk organs, the "Model 945". Feel free to download these arrangements free of charge – as long as you give me appropriate credit in any performances or recordings that may result. I would also appreciate hearing recordings of these by other organists.
Les Deutsch, organ – download sheet music
Les Deutsch, organ – download sheet music
And here is something completely different! I got a brand new iPhone in January 2009 so I have been playing with it quite a bit. One of the by-products this set of custom iPhone ringtones. I created these from pieces of my Quintette transcriptions. I simply edited them to get a 30-second piece of music, and then had my computer convert the scores to a MIDI recording. I then used iTunes to convert these to ringtones. Sure, it would have been a whole lot easier to simply cut 30-second pieces out of the original Scott recordings, but somehow these synthesized tones have a better phone feel to them. I hope you agree. By the way, for those of you with some other kind of cell phone - you're on your own!

To download these, chose "save linked file" from your browser. After the file is on your disk, remove the ".bin" extension to leave the ".m4r" (ringtone) as the only extension. I had to add the ".bin" to get around a Safari problem.

iPhone Ringtone
iPhone Ringtone
iPhone Ringtone
iPhone Ringtone
iPhone Ringtone
Be sure to visit my pages on organ software design and organ recordings to see another of my musical projects.