Greetings from Kartoonistan...
catalog-no. tx 2065
rock - 2003
The Kartoonistan album was conceived as the 25th anniversary of Kaleidoscope's first album, Side Trips. Bill Straw, at Gifthorse Records approached me and asked if we would be interested in doing such a project. So Chester Crill and I contacted everyone from both the first and second incarnations of the band to see what their thoughts were. Everyone agreed, at the time, so it was a go. We asked for submissions for material and everyone came through with their own brand of Kaleidoscopian ideas. Chet and I became the clearinghouse for it all and somehow we were able to concoct a CD that was true to the original nature of the band yet was up to date as well. That is, each member had certainly developed individually in the ensuing years and that became very apparent as the recording commenced.
Solomon became more flamenco and less middle eastern and Stu Brotman did more of the stuff that Solomon would have done in the old days. Plus, Stu's Klezmer Suite brought a whole new area to the band's regional milieu. We did very few original pieces this time out excluding the Suite. I, however, chose to sing, as my only solo piece, a Frizz Fuller song, Martians at the Window.
We chose a Duke Ellington song, Wild Man as our homage to Duke, and Down In Mexico as our Leiber and Stoller composition. Chet and I always need to do at least one song from both of those sources every time out. Our concession to psychedelia was a cover of a great '60s song Talk,Talk, a Music Machine tune.To my knowledge it had been seldom covered and was perfect fodder for a Kaleidoscopian interpretation. Ouds and slide guitar with a taste of slithery violin, along with Sol's distinctive voice make this my personal favorite cut on the CD.
Chester and I have been very much influenced by the Pasadena R & B duo Don and Dewey and we did our own distinctive version of their Jungle Hop. Layla, Layla, a classic from the Persian world and Gitano Fino, a flamenco jewel, show Solomon's expertise to perfection. The cut, African Market Place, a Dollar Brand (Abdulla Ibrahim) instrumental, tops off this excursion into the ever-growing world that is now called "World Beat".
The Kaleidoscope is not only a band but a concept, for each rendering of a piece of material leads to the same place, a place called Kartoonistan.
Chris Darrow, January 2003
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