Recordings by Raymond Scott which are commercially available on CD, LP, or as digital downloads.
The long awaited second collection of Raymond Scott electronica, Three Willow Park: Electronic Music from Inner Space, 1961-1971, features 61 previously unreleased recordings from the decade before Scott left New York to work in L.A. for Motown. Most tracks were recorded on devices Scott invented, and his Motown Electronium is heard for the first time on disc. The 3-LP/2-CD set serves as a companion to the Y2K collection Manhattan Research, Inc. Many tracks feature hypnotic rhythms played by the Electronium—an invention which composed and performed using programmed intelligence. That Scott produced beat-oriented proto-techno before the 1970s explosion of electronic music and rhythms on the pop charts is a significant achievement that should not be overlooked. The LP and CD editions of Three Willow Park include extensive booklets with historical chronicles, photos, a timeline, family remembrances, track notes, and ephemera.
(Basta CD, 2002)
Historic recordings by Raymond Scott’s original 1937-39 Quintette, including a dozen titles popularized by Warner Bros. cartoons. This 42-track compilation features unreleased titles, radio performances, and first-rate rehearsals by the RSQ recorded between 1936 and 1939. The album title refers to Scott’s emphasis on the microphone as a “seventh member” of his legendary six-man Quintette and its importance in helping Scott shape the recorded sound of his ensembles. Includes such Scott favorites as Powerhouse, The Penguin, The Toy Trumpet, Tobacco Auctioneer, War Dance for Wooden Indians and many rarities and previously unreleased tracks. Compiled by Scott historian Irwin Chusid. BUY: iTunes. Amazon. Sample tracks are posted here.
(Basta CD/LP, 2000; reissued 2017 on Basta CD and Music on Vinyl 3-LP)
After his early work in jazz, Scott become a pioneer in the field of electronica, minimalism, and ambient music. MANHATTAN RESEARCH INC. is a 2-CD, 69-track set featuring over two hours of Scott’s unreleased electronic recordings from the 1950s-’60s. These works feature homebuilt music machines like the Electronium, Clavivox, Circle Machine, Bandito the Bongo Artist, and more. The album includes collaborative works with JIM HENSON, and comes packaged in a 144-page, full-color, hard-bound book that features interviews with those who knew and worked with Scott (including synth pioneer BOB MOOG), along with photos, lab notes, US patents, and artifacts. Co-produced by Gert-Jan Blom and Jeff Winner. Buy digital: iTunes. Amazon. Buy vinyl: Music on Vinyl 2017 LP edition. (US link for 2017 MoV import.) Sample tracks are posted here.
(Basta CD, 2008)
Ectoplasm collects Scott’s second Quintet (1948-49). Like its groundbreaking 1937-39 predecessor chronicled on Microphone Music, this “quintet” had six members, but unlike the original RSQ, this band didn’t create music destined for cartoons. The usual Scott trademarks abound: wit, sophistication, and a touch of eccentricity. The style could be termed “parlor jazz,” or “chamber swing” — breezy and cerebral. Both RSQ’s were known for swirling horns, muted trumpet, and daredevil tempos. The occasional seventh ‘Q’ member is young vocalist Dorothy Collins, whose sound was shaped by Scott, her musical mentor (and later husband). Dorothy croons wordless vocals on several numbers, in which her voice sounds eerily like a theremin. The set was produced by Scott historian/archivist Irwin Chusid. Cover art features figures by legendary artist Jim Flora. BUY: iTunes. Amazon.
(Basta CD/LP, 1997; reissued 2017 on Basta CD and Music on Vinyl 3-LP)
When Soothing Sounds for Baby was recorded by Scott in 1963, it was intended for infants—but history has endowed these deceptively simple works with broader significance. Released on three LPs in conjunction with the Gesell Institute of Child Development, SSFB was intended to serve as an “aural toy” during the “feeding, teething, play, sleep and fretful periods” of infants in three age groups. Besides soothing infants, these recordings were intended to be “pleasantly stimulating.” By approximating, say, “the rhythmic tinkle of a music box,” SSFB provided a “quieting” atmosphere of relaxation, warmth, and contentment. These same qualities were embodied in a type of adult music in the 1970s. Brian Eno’s Discreet Music (1975) is often cited as the cornerstone of the “Ambient” movement. Eno wrote that Ambient Music sought “to induce calm and a space to think. [It] must be able to accommodate many levels of listening attention without enforcing one in particular.” These ideas were later mixed with dance beats, spawning such styles as ambient house, trance, techno, and trip-hop. Soothing Sounds for Baby, with many of the same qualities and purpose, pre-dated Discreet Music by over a decade. Buy digital: iTunes: Vol. 1 / Vol. 2 / Vol. 3. Amazon. Buy vinyl: Music on Vinyl 2017 LP set. (US link for 2017 MoV import.) Sample tracks are posted here.
(Basta CD, 2013)
Three mixologists who work under group names — The Bran Flakes, Evolution Control Committee, and Go Home Productions — were given hundreds of recordings owned by the Raymond Scott estate, spanning the 1930s to the 1980s: jazz, orchestral, electronic, experimental, studio chatter, never-heard rarities. Each alchemist contributed six audio montages with new titles, and they collaborated on Scott’s signature tune “Powerhouse.” The project, Raymond Scott Rewired, was produced by Scott historian/archivist Irwin Chusid and released in 2014 on Basta. Cover art adapted from an unpublished work by legendary artist Jim Flora. BUY: iTunes. Amazon. More info and sample tracks posted here.
(Basta CD, mono / LP, stereo, 2005)
During the late 1950s, he was deep into modern jazz and working with small ensembles. His 1960 album The Secret 7: The Unexpected featured an all-star line-up, the cream of New York’s jazz cats: Sam “The Man Taylor,” Harry “Sweets” Edison, Wild Bill Davis, Milt Hinton, Elvis Jones, and others. The names were not revealed on the LP, but as jazz historian Nat Hentoff stated in the liner notes: “Jazz aficionados will instantly recognize the players.” The album features eight quirky Scott originals and several standards. The Basta CD version is mono, but the LP version features a very rare vivid stereo mix. Buy digital: iTunes. Amazon. Sample tracks are posted here.
(Basta CD, 2012)
Raymond Scott’s diverse legacy includes jazz novelties, orchestral ballads, a Broadway musical, film scores, ad jingles, electronic miniatures, and musique concrète. But the Suite for Violin and Pianowas unique in his catalog. Scott was a 1931 Juilliard grad, but the closest his compositions inched towards the classics were jazzed-up reinventions of Mozart, Verdi, and Schubert. The five-movementSuite was publicly performed just once, at Carnegie Hall in 1950, by renowned violinist Arnold Eidus and pianist Carlo Bussotti. The work was then recorded by Eidus and Bussotti, under the supervision of the composer. However, Scott did not release it commercially, for reasons unknown. In 2004, a new recording was produced by Beau Hunks Orchestra leader Gert-Jan Blom in the Netherlands, featuring violinist Davide Rossi and pianist Ramon Dor. The two versions are coupled on this Basta package. A free copy of the score is available here. Cover art features illustrations by legendary artist Jim Flora. BUY: iTunes. Amazon.
(Basta CD/LP, 2009)
On This Time With Strings, originally released in 1957, Scott musically re-invented eleven of his compositions for full orchestra and strings. Many of these tunes were originally recorded by Scott’s novelty jazz six-man Quintette in the late 1930s; others date from the ’40s and ’50s. All get a spectacular makeover under the baton of the maestro. TTWS contains some of Scott’s most famous works, including “Powerhouse,” “The Toy Trumpet,” and “Twilight in Turkey,” retooled for expanded setting. “There are many old Quintette things on this LP,” said the composer in the liner notes. “Also some older things for dance band, material written for Broadway and the screen, and some of my more recent writing. Indeed, a potpourri given Hi-Fidelity dressing, and a certain vividness in string treatment.” BUY: iTunes. Amazon. Sample tracks are posted here.