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Muppet

Up to date as of February 02, 2010
(Redirected to Muppet Show Musicians article)

From Muppet Wiki

In addition to the comedy, puppetry, and guest stars, The Muppet Show was a showcase for a variety of musical styles, from classical piano music to psychedelic rock. Although musically inclined puppeteers such as Jim Henson and Steve Whitmire could effectively convey the impression of their character performing, the actual instruments were played, in pre-recorded tracks, by a steady ensemble of veteran musicians. Various members of the Jack Parnell in-house orchestra contributed to the soundtrack, blending with the Muppet performers' vocals and puppetry to create an effective illusion. In much the same way that the puppeteers were cast by role, individual artists "doubled" as the musical voices of the characters, in addition to performing as an ensemble for background score or other groups.

Contents

Ronnie Verrell- Animal's Drumming

Ronnie Verrell in later years

Ronnie Verrell (1926-2002) was an energetic jazz drummer "whose talent was hidden behind a rather formidable front man, Animal." [1] Self-taught, Verrell began playing during WWII, later joining the Ted Heath Band. He backed such performers as Tony Bennett and Shirley Bassey, and played regularly with Tom Jones. Verrell's most notable performance occurred in episode 522, performing Animal's frenetic contest with Buddy Rich, Verrell's own idol. Though sidelined by an auto accident in 1990, Verrell continued to perform until the end of his life.


Kenny Baker- Gonzo's Trumpet

Kenny Baker

Kenny Baker (1921-1999) (no relation to Kenny Baker) supplied the sharp, sometimes discordant trumpet notes for Gonzo for each Muppet Show opening. Baker was a jazz trumpeter, equally adept at the cornet and the bugle, who was lead trumpet for Ted Heath's big band in the 1940s. He went on to form his own group, the Baker's Dozen, and soon landed a BBC radio series. In 1954, Baker dubbed the trumpet playing for actress Kay Kendall in the film Genevieve, and performed in soundtracks for James Bond films. A colleague of Jack Parnell from the Ted Heath days, he became a permanent member of ATV's band beginning in the 1960s, and worked The Muppet Show for all five seasons.


Derek Scott- Rowlf's Piano

Derek Scott (1921-2006), musical consultant for The Muppet Show, provided all of Rowlf's piano solos. Scott's best single showcase occurred years later, in the album Ol' Brown Ears is Back.


Frank Reedy- Zoot's Saxophone

Frank Reedy, during a recording session for The Muppet Show.

Frank Reedy, saxophone and clarinet player, supplied the sax wailings for Zoot. As Dave Goelz recalled, "The only sax player I knew was Frank Reedy, of the Jack Parnell Orchestra, the musicians for the Muppet Show, and he wasn't anything like Zoot."[2] Reedy had prior experience with madcap comedy, having backed Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan on The Goon Show. He also performed with the likes of Frank Sinatra.


Tommy McQuater- Lips' Trumpet

A young Tommy McQuater

Tommy McQuater (b. 1914), a jazz trumpeter who was with The Muppet Show for the entire run, received a character showcase of sorts in the fifth season, playing horn for Lips, late addition to the Electric Mayhem. During WWII, McQuater served in the RAF and helped form the military band "The Squadronaires." On his return, McQuater performed at the London palladium and later joined the Jack Parnell Orchestra. Prior to his Muppet stint, McQuater had played with the Barry Gray Orchestra, who supplied the soundtracks for Gerry Anderson's "Supermarionation" series, including Supercar and Thunderbirds. McQuater remained active as a musician through the 1980s.


Sources

  1. Classified Obituary. Herald Sun (Melbourne, Australia), March 1, 2002.
  2. Muppet Central- Dave Goelz Interview

External links

  • LouisBarfe.com- Jazz Treasury
  • Jazz Professional- Ronnie Verrell Profile
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This article uses material from the "Muppet Show Musicians" article on the Muppet wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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