Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Raymond Scott on the Radio

Today Raymond Scott is best remembered for later interpretations of his songs by Warner Brothers for use in hundreds of cartoons. His pieces became theme music for Bugs Bunny, daffy Duck and even more recently, Ren & Stimpy. He was a Brooklyn native a composer, orchestra leader, pianist, radio engineer, recording studio maverick, and electronic instrument inventor.

"The composer must bear in mind that the radio listener does not hear music directly. He hears it only after the sound has passed through a microphone, amplifiers, transmission lines, radio transmitter, receiving set, and, finally, the loud speaker apparatus itself."
—Raymond Scott

In 1936, while at CBS, he recruited a band from among his colleagues, calling it the "Raymond Scott Quintette." The quintet was actually a sextet technically, but Scott was concerned what the prefix "sex" might do to his listeners.

In 1942 Scott was appointed music director of CBS radio. His studio band was the first racially integrated band in radio. He had hired saxophonist Ben Webster, trumpeter Charlie Shavers, and drummer Cozy Cole. In 1948, Scott formed another six member "quintet," for the CBS radio program, Herb Shriner Time. That band also made some studio recordings, which were released on Scott's own Master Records label.

Radio came to Raymond through his brother, Mark Warnow, a conductor, and violinist. Brother Mark also happened to be the musical director for the radio program Your Hit Parade. The program was sponsored by Lucky Strike Cigarettes, and broadcast on radio from 1935 to 1955 on NBC.

When his Mark Warnow died in 1949, Scott succeeded him as orchestra leader on the show. He stayed on when they transitioned into television and stayed until 1957. It was picked up by CBS in 1958, but the program could not survive without him and was canceled in 1959.