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One of the three original pieces I wrote last year (there were a couple of arrangements in there, too) was Stereo Action, a percussion nonet commissioned by a consortium of ensembles led by Brian Zator, at Texas A&M University-Commerce. The title is also a straightforward explanation of the percussion battery, where most of the instruments are doubled, one on each side:



You can see there’s a piano (also a percussion instrument, one nearly forgets) in the middle of the setup, that nearly every percussionist plays at some point. ¬†They walk over, plink a chord or drum inside, and walk (well, run) back to their station. Brian and His Boys premiered the 10′ work at the 2010 PASIC in November, and it went a little something like this:


Something’s weird about this piece, right? Sounds dated maybe? The (hopefully non-essential) program note reveals all of course, but I’ll sum it up by saying that the whole effort is an overblown homage to the marvelous band leaders, arrangers, and composers of the 1960′s Swingin’ Bachelor-Pad sound, and their awesome, awesome, hyper-panned stereo records. Masters like:

Enoch Light






Bernie Green



and Dick Schory.



But the king of all Swanky Swing, was Marty Gold.



Some years ago when I was asking around after Esquivel recordings, someone (I forget who) asked me if I had heard any Marty Gold. I hadn’t, but my father-in-law, a serious record collector, hooked me up, and I became forever peeved that I was stuck the era in which I live. The musical sophistication, the classiness wrapped up with insane goofiness…just to be that skilled at arranging so as to consistently embed those wonderful sounds into the records…let’s just say I simply wish to go back in time and be Marty Gold. With my piece I know I didn’t do the stuff even a fraction of the justice it deserves, but one can only try.

Relatedly, this past February I received a surprise e-mail by a woman named Debbie Cavalier. I trust she won’t mind my reprinting some of it here:

Hi Jonathan,

I just watched/listened to your Stereo Action performance online and thought it was great. Marty Gold was my grandfather. He passed away three weeks ago at age 95. Here is a blog post I wrote about him that I thought might be of interest to you.

Marty Gold, My Inspiration

I really enjoyed reading that essay, especially perusing all the family photos. Debbie and I had some correspondence after that, and the exchange made me realize that I had yet to write about how wonderful all this stuff is, and in particular how awesome and inspiring Marty Gold was.

For some easy online Marty Gold listening, check out these likely illegal online tracks. And then go search out some of his hard-to-find reissued records reprinted on CDs. They’re Totally Atomic.

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  1. Daaaamn. That’s the best placed woofer I’ve ever seen (and her tweeters ain’t bad, either!). Gotta wonder how amazing she sounds when she’s plugged in.

    But seriously, folks (I’m guessing only a chick like me could get away with the above), very cool premise for a piece, Jonathan– love it! I especially enjoy seeing the musicians virtually dancing as they’re playing. Music is physical! Sexy, too :-)

    Posted on 06-Apr-11 at 3:55 PM | Permalink
  2. Hey Jonathan,

    I really enjoyed your piece. And I appreciate your comments on Marty Gold’s music. I’m a great fan, and I’m his son.

    Would you mind if I quoted your post on a site that I’ve set up to help family, friends, fans, and colleagues remember and celebrate Marty’s music? I hope members of community will come by the site to listen and to explore his legacy:

    Michael Gold

    Posted on 06-Apr-11 at 5:31 PM | Permalink
  3. Thank you, Michael – and of course of course! Looking forward to going through all the stories and photos on that site!

    Posted on 07-Apr-11 at 12:10 PM | Permalink

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