In certain circles, Hal Willner is considered a legend. Since 1981, his various artist tribute productions – dedicated to the music of such disparate composers as Nino Rota, Monk, Kurt Weill, Mingus and others – are wildly inventive gatherings filled with as many groundbreaking artists as he can pile into a single project. From Sun Ra to Los Lobos to Nilsson to Tom Waits (just a few names from his Disney trib, Stay Awake), the credits on any Willner production are a staggering read. There’s also his catalog organizations for Lenny Bruce and Carl Stalling and his musical direction on TV shows like Saturday Night Live and Night Music. Even more amazing, Willner has released only one solo project of his own, 1998’s out of print Whoops, I’m An Indian (named for a Three Stooges short). Curiously, Willner doesn’t tap a single star from his vast Rolodex. Instead, Whoops is an experimental mix of backbeats and samples, incorporating tribal chants, old recordings, film dialog (Dragnet‘s Jack Webb in The D.I.), spooky atmospherics, and even humor, like his thumb-on-the-turntable interpretation of “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.” Instead of manipulating a multitude of artists on a single album, he manipulates a multitude of samples in much the same way. Curiously, there’s little in the way of Willner’s stock in trade, avant jazz. Typical for a guy who’s always cruisin’ for something different to do. At Amazon, HERE.
Whoops, I’m An Indian (3:50)
Nyack Oud Dance (4:13)
Levinsky Of The Spirits (3:53)
Do You Hear Me? (No Pie) with Jack Webb (4:00)
We Travel The Subways (2:27)
A Night At The Playpen (5:34)
Alamo Hellfire (6:29)
Putz Rapper (4:54)
King Of The Jews (0:56)
If I Had Known (3:14)
Bercuse On Parade (5:44)
Sango Montamaria (3:50)
Hal Sings ‘The Fatal Glass Of Beer’ While Ralph Honks (2:21)
What a Friend We Have In Jesus Revisited (4:30)
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