Bop to the Top (Duet)

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Where's the Scatman? Before the hit. Todd : Before we get to the song "Scatman", we have to get to the actual Scatman himself, before he was the Scatman.


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Todd Footage of John Larkin playing jazz piano Todd : hesitantly I And he is the real deal. He emulated all the greats. Todd : And by that, of course, I mean he had a serious drug problem in true jazz fashion. He did get over it, though. Todd : I did take a listen to it.

Album cover of John Larkin appears while the song "The Misfit" plays John : 'Cause things you call dead haven't yet had the chance to be born long piano solo Todd : Jesus Christ. Thank God this wasn't the hit, or I'd never get through my intro. More live footage of John Todd VO : So you can tell when we say he was a jazz performer, we mean like the real jazz, not like Kenny G or anything.

This is not like elevator music, this is the hard stuff with, like, minute solos and time signature changes and everything. Todd : Also important to know: he has a stutter. I have to tell everyone that so th-th-that they don't think I'm crazy up here. Todd VO : That's obviously gonna be relevant when we start talking about the big hit, but His original instinct was to hide behind his piano and it took him many years to have the courage to add vocals.

Todd : So how on earth did a guy like this become involved in techno? Well, I dunno if you noticed, but jazz hasn't really been popular in many decades. More live footage Todd VO : And he started doing pretty well.


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You know, well enough over there. Good enough to snag a record deal. Todd : But you know what was doing really well?

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Video for "Mr. So his manager was like Why don't we put a dance beat under it? Todd : And John was like, "But will people make fun of me when they find out I stutter? They keep saying to me, "well, it's not exactly a jazz album", but it's gonna be good if it's him, and it's gonna be some kind of a little crossover album, and the title may be Scatman. Video for "Scatman Ski-Ba-Bop-Ba-Dop-Dop " Scatman John : Ska-badabadabadoo-belidabbelydabbladabbladabblabab-belibabbelibabbelibabbelabbelo-doobelidoo Todd interrupts with vaguely scat-sounding gibberish and flipping his lips, followed by a clip of Porky Pig saying "Th-th-th-that's all, folks!

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Todd VO : Yeah, this song doesn't make you wait. It knows what you're here for. You're not here for the beat or the riff, or certainly not the verses. Todd : You're here for rapid-fire incomprehensible nonsense. And you can get that from sports radio, obviously Scatman That's what he sang on picture of What a weird mismatched pair of songs to be connected. Todd : shrugs Was it performance footage of Louis Armstrong's "Hello, Dolly"? That was 30 years before this!

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But was it that weird? Todd VO : Scatman John came out at a time when Eurodance producers realized that they could basically throw a thumping beat under anything. Todd : Old soft-rock hits? Cuban jazz? The Charleston? Clip of "Doop" by Doop Todd : Absolutely. Old American folk songs? Not that you should , but yes you can. I mean, you can't get this anywhere else. Who would even think of combining jazz singing and Eurodance? These genres are a billion miles away from each other, right?

Todd : Well, kind of. On one hand, I do see what they have in common. A lot of techno songs don't have lyrics at all Clip of Cab Calloway performing "Minnie the Moocher" Todd VO : Plus, scatting is, a lot of the time, using your voice like an instrument to play riffs and musical phrases.

I mean, that's all the Scatman is doing there, he's singing the riff. Todd : On the other hand, there is a lot of distance between these genres, and I'm not just talking about the time difference. Random jazz clips Todd VO : Jazz is about soul. Scat singing is an entirely improvisational art form. Eurodance is not improvisational. There's no riffing, there's no solos, you don't have to play it live. Scatman : I hear you all ask 'bout the meaning of scat Well, I'm the professor and all I can tell you is Todd VO : He's a middle-aged man.

He's done some living. Clip of " What Is Love? He doesn't have the most powerful of voices, he struggles to stay on-key, but let him spray some random syllables, and Bam! Todd VO : His entire existence is pure camp, especially the rapping. Scatman : Why should we be pleasin' in the politician heathens Who would try to change the seasons if they could? The state of the condition insults my intuitions And it only makes me crazy and a heart like wood Todd VO : You see, this isn't just a song about scatting. It's a message song.

Scatman : Everybody stutters one way or the other So check out my message to you Todd VO : A message of hope and inspiration. Todd : It's his life story. Scatman : Everybody's saying that the Scatman stutters But doesn't ever stutter when he sings But what you don't know, I'm gonna tell you right now That the stutter and the scat is the same thing You are the Scatman Todd VO : It's his story of overcoming his stutter Todd VO : He struggled with it all his life, and now here he is.

He turned it into his career. He's a professional singer. Scatman : As a matter of fact, I don't let nothin' hold you back If the Scatman can do it, so can you Todd : No, no, no. I absolutely cannot do that.

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Here, this is me trying to do that. And it doesn't look that easy. Todd VO : This is, like, the speed metal of scatting. Even if I learned to scat sing, I couldn't sing it that fast. I can barely hear it that fast. Todd : In fact, are we sure this isn't just clip of And maybe he was influential Todd : I only ever found it annoying. I just don't like Eurodance!

It's an irritating genre. He's like a children's singer. There's just no cynicism in him whatsoever. He wants to make the world a better place, and who can deny that? Todd : Yes, Scatman's World. Not to be confused with the other 90s artifact promotional picture for Beakman's World , which taught you about science and got entirely forgotten because it wasn't as good as picture of Bill Nye.

There is no pain or dishonesty. Todd : It's called Scatland. Todd : Especially don't click on any links in German. He has a whole country now. Man in video : Scatman's World is the place to go! Todd : This seems to be a thing with European dance stars. I mean Eiffel 65 had their little blue alien guys' adventures. It's like they were all angling for their own cartoon show. Scatman : Scatman, fat man, black and white and brown man Tell me 'bout the color of your soul Todd VO : And was this a hit? Yes, of course it was a hit. Not in this country of course, but Eurodance is for Europe.

So naturally he reached almost as many countries as he did the first time. Todd : Techno is not really a genre for long careers. But the fact that a guy like this made it to song number two is impressive in its own right. Even with this song, which From start to finish, De Merle plays with such power and grace as to make his quintet sound like a band three times that size. Cole porter has rarely been played so boldly and over-the-top.

There is not a straight arrangement in the bunch.

Achievement Guide for Bop To The Top

Each piece holds its own special surprise, whether it is the revamped lyrics to "You're the Top", the waltz-driven "I get a Kick Out You", or tart and pleasing "Anything Goes. The true treat is Richie Cole's always precise and perfect alto saxophone. He provides seamless support with effortless solos. This disc is an embarrassment of riches, all of this with DeMerle and Eisele at the center of this creative tidal wave. This is a very recommendable collection of standards, by that stand king, Cole Porter.

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