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And for something really oddball, there's Nutty--which is recording live at the Cafe 322 on Friday. Their shtick is jazzed-out,hard-swinging covers of classic rock tunes, laid out by some niceyoung players and a stylishly loungy front man. It's pure Vegas--really good Vegas--and a good time. If you're trying to edge your rock-&-roll friends into jazz, it's not a bad starting point. - BRICK WAHL 1-25-08

Recordings like this are a fabulous hoot. Nutty is a lounge band with a wickedly ironic sense of humor. This band not only recasts the jazz standard canon (juxtaposing Miles Davis and the Who on “Miles and Miles and Miles” and “On Green Dolphin Street with the Beatles,” they take the pop/rock vernacular by the horns and shake it hard. “Back in Black, Baby” gently lampoons AC/DC with a big band backing. “Black Mutt” is a Hipster's “Black Dog” with a martini and a cigar. And the listener will never have heard Black Sabbath's “Paranoid” played like this. Nutty is the brainchild of vocalist Joel Hile, who sports the moniker, “Sonny Moon” (pretty cheeky, Uh?). Standing out of the fray is guitarist Daryl Boggs and Jason Meyers, who each keep the disc from becoming a parody. This is fun party music. - C. Michael Bailey

The self-titled release CD from Nutty promises the listener “spiked rock classics from a cool cocktail jazz tumbler.” What you get is an odd, smartly chosen assortment of party standards that will leave a permanent smirk on the face of a music lover who appreciates risk takers, warped though they may be.

The smarmy lounge singer belting out Top 40 tracks to the ears of a cringing audience is no new idea, but Nutty clearly has fun amazing a crowd with their chosen swingin’ wake up calls. Stand out tracks on this album include “The Boys Are Back at Dino’s,” covering Lynott’s rock anthem with a Vegas style lemon twist, and this reviewer’s personal favorite, “The Reaper (We’ll Be Able to Fly),” that becomes a sort of lovechild for Frank Sinatra and Blue Oyster Cult. As a sidebar, I should point out that Reaper would make a fun competition piece for some completely insane Lindy Hopper.

The vocals of Sonny Moon are warm and falsely tipsy like Dean Martin. He actually orders drinks between tracks 8 and 9 on the CD. Guy Wonder on bass and Jason Myers on guitar do a credible job of bridging established guitar arrangements with lounge chic. Hats off to Mike Rose on sax and Elliott Caine on trumpet for swinging out on songs that probably didn’t know they could bend that way, like a fat man in yoga class. Between Don Baarns’ drum work and the keyboards of Paul McDonald, the rest of this ensemble is given a nice framing. Without question, I’ll also give appreciative credit to whoever conceives these new arrangements.

Watch out for “Paranoid Cat” which takes Black Sabbath into the world of rumba and bossa nova, but stick around for “Back in Black, Baby!” where the horn play shines in a way AC/DC never would have conceived. “Miles and Miles and Miles” is another cocktail jewel that introducing The Who to Miles Davis with just a touch of “Sketches of Spain.” A purist might want to hide under the bed, but anyone who appreciates the fusion of ideas, style, and lounge culture completely out of control must buy this album. - Frankie Hagen


Debut CD getting airplay on KCRW, KPFK, KCSN, KFMU, KXLU, KBCS, KANU, KOOP, etc. Plus numerous internet stations, including the Luxuria Network.



Welcome to the world of Nutty, where seven jet-setter jazzniks swagger among the rock archives, shaking and stirring up a martini mix of straight-ahead jazz, big band swing, crime jazz/spy jazz, film/TV themes, atomic lounge, latin, and a shot of bop to create the ultimate in spiked rock cocktail classics.

Crooner Sonny Moon serves up some sassy vocals as Nutty turns classic pop/rock inside-out. Their world is like a crazy dream where Miles, 'Trane, Mingus and Dizzy sit in with The Beatles, The Who, Zeppelin and Hendrix. Where The Doors open for Martin Denny, Brubeck's got the Moody Blues and Monk is the 5th Monkee. It's like purple haze and aqua velvet, blue oysters and pink champagne. It's like . . . Nutty. You dig?