OWTK Kindie Album Reviews

Oran Etkin – “Wake Up, Clarinet” CD Review

ORAN ETKIN “WAKE UP, CLARINET”

The Sound: Upper crust jazz with the crusts cut off.

In the Cafeteria, He Sits With: Coal Train Railroad, Hayes Greenfield

Best Moments: The opening piano salvo in “High Low”, the album’s 1st musical cut, will have jazz aficionados salivating.  It’s the initial sign that “Wake Up, Clarinet” isn’t a fluffy & frivolous attempt to bring jazz into your kid’s playroom. Etkin and his top-notch band really get their instruments talking on “All I Really Want To Do Is Dance” and your kids will absolutely love hearing what Clara Net and her friends have to say.  Introductions to songs don’t normally rank as Best Moments, but the “Intro to Eh Le Bas: The Story of King Louis XIV” might be my favorite track here, and not solely because it taught me how to tell the Bear & Mouse to go “over there” in French (with right arm extended and index finger pointed towards their bedrooms). Oh yeah, the Cajun number that accompanies the Intro is pretty stellar too!

Bonus Thoughts: Watch Oran Etkin enthrall an audience of pipsqueaks and their parents (including OWTK) at the Please Touch Museum in Philly this past February, but please try to avoid calling your mother “Big Momma Tuba” – I can imagine that one not going over so well.

Okay, Time to Wrap it Up with a Nice Little Bow: I fancy jazz.  Not just in the dinner-party kinda way and most certainly never in an elevator.   I actually like listening to it and I like that my kids like listening to it.  Like, seriously.  Real, straight jazz can be playful, accessible and fun.  It’s one of the reasons that, unlike so much adult rock-n-roll, you can freely spin the grown-up version of the genre when little ones are around without batting an eye or diving across the room the hit skip.  I mean, Charlie Parker ain’t droppin’ F-bombs during “Out of Nowhere.”

But, as wickedly cool as Dizzy’s “Salt Peanuts” is for kids, I’ve found that having high-quality jazz in my musical library that’s been made specifically with younger ears in mind has greatly helped usher in the form to my own children.  Oran Etkin’s “Wake Up, Clarinet” offers exactly that: a custom-tailored jazz experience (through his Timabalooloo method) for tots that’s an interactive romp through the music as a way of speaking, listening, learning, and understanding.

*Oran Etkin’s “Wake Up, Clarinet” was provided to OWTK for review. The opinions expressed above are unbiased and true – no arm twisting took place in the review process.


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