Stu Brown formed his Twisted Toons Sextet in 2008 to celebrate 100 years since the birth of the little known band leader, composer and inventor, Raymond Scott, whose wacky, hyper-animated, eyeball-popping ‘cartoon jazz’ is most widely recognisable for its use in the Looney Tunes cartoons from the 1940’s onwards and, more recently, in Ren and Stimpy, and The Simpsons. The band's performances of Scott's manic, offbeat compositions, such as “Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals” and "Square Dance For Eight Egyptian Mummies” have proved to be immensely popular with audiences of all ages and back- grounds, from jazz fans to general music lovers, and film and animations fans to families with young children, and have played to packed crowds at many of the U.K.’s leading jazz festivals, including Manchester, Cheltenham, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Gateshead and London, as well a recent 30 date tour of small venues in rural England, Wales and Scotland. ‘Twisted Tunes – The Music of Raymond Scott’, was one of Mojo magazine’s top 10 jazz albums of 2009.
In 2014, Stu expanded the line up of the band to a septet, incorporating violin, and has developed the band's repertoire to include his complete transcriptions of Carl Stalling and Scott Bradley cartoon scores and other adapted music from Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, Droopy, Ren and Stimpy and more. The septet premiered their new material at Glasgow Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Jazz Festival 2014 and at the Commonwealth Games and will be recording a new album in late 2014 to be released early in 2015.
Raymond Scott The original Raymond Scott Quintette only recorded between 1937 and 1939 but, in 1943, Warner Bros bought Scott’s publishing, and soon his music began to crop up in Merrie Melodies and Looney Tunes cartoons. However, few people today are aware that the origin of these melodies was in the music of this quirky 1930s six-piece outfit whose brand of screwy ‘descriptive jazz’ was never intended for use in animation, or that the leader of this group led an extraordinary double life as a pianist, composer, and bandleader, and as an engineer, inventor, and electronic music pioneer. One of Scott’s most exceptional early achievements was the invention of the first electronic sequencer in 1960, a device that later became the foundation of modern dance music and studio production. Over the following years, Scott developed this invention into an incredible instantaneous composition/ performance machine called The Electronium, which was used by Motown Records, where Scott was employed as head of electronic research and development from 1972 to 1977. Raymond Scott continued to use technology to compose music until 1987, when the first of a series of strokes left him unable to work, speak or communicate. He died on 8 February 1994 at the age of 85.
“Stu Brown's Raymond Scott Project is a wonderful embodiment of my fathers musical legacy... It captures the essential spirit and substance of the original Quintette, always making my Dad's deceptively complex music sound effortless and exhilarating." Stan Warnow (Raymond Scott's Son)
"Wittily daft, exotic and swinging. Scott’s peculiarly joyous concept remains an obvious technical challenge and the project was a labour of love and transcription marathon for Stu Brown, though his band bounce through the hilariously detailed charts with immense relish and skill. Brilliant resurrection of 1930s crackpot jazz" Chris Ingham (Mojo)
"Drummer Stu Brown’s tribute to the eclectic compositional genius of Raymond Scott proved to be one of the unsung highlights of the jazz festival... zany melodies, striking harmonies, breakneck rhythms and kaleidescope of styles... a major achievement" Kenny Mathieson (The Scotsman)
"Half the triumph is the way the sextet brings Scott and Brown's carefully written notes off the page with such zest and spontaneity - the other half is that it's just so damned enjoyable"" Rob Adams (Jazzwise)
"It was impossible not to be charmed by the Twisted Toons concert ..... Not only is drummer Stu Brown an extremely engaging and amiable host, but his passion for Raymond Scott’s cultish compositions and the performances of them by a septet comprising A-list Scottish jazz musicians make an irresistible combination." Alison Kerr (The Scotsman)