Editors' pick

The Grandsons


Editorial Review

Teaching kids the joys of jazz
By Mike Joyce
Friday, November 23, 2012

If you think there’s no quicker way to introduce kids to the joys of jazz than through the eternally hip songs composed by Slim Gaillard, you’re right -- or, more to the point, rightorooni!

Jack Kerouac, a fan of Gaillard’s nonsensical but delightfully musical lexicon, wrote that the late bop-era master of verbal hijinks saw the world as just “one big orooni.” Apparently, the Grandsons -- or the Grandsons, Jr., the band’s new nom de disque -- couldn’t agree more. Their first children’s album is inspired by Gaillard’s tongue-tripping, toe-tapping, terrifically entertaining songbook.

Longtime Washington area favorites and multiple Wammie winners, the rootsy quartet is well-known for its colorfully upbeat, genre-jumping repertoire. So it’s not surprising to hear the sax-bolstered band convey the essence of Gaillard’s appeal with such affection. “Juice Box Rhythm” and other original tunes joyfully evoke Gaillard’s legacy and occasionally introduce a contemporary twist or two.

But more often “One Big Orooni” derives abundant charm and humor from Gaillard-penned novelties and an array of swing, calypso and mambo rhythms. “Serenade to a Poodle,” for example, is as disarmingly silly as it sounds, while “Cement Mixer” features a characteristic (and thoroughly tot-friendly) refrain: “Aye Vout! -- badaba deba, doobya doob scooty.” Take that, Wiggles!