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Published on Oct 13, 2007
This piece is called Swanky Maximino, and It plays in the office of Maximino, the gambling kingpin in Year 2. I wanted to evoke the sounds of speakeasies of the Prohibition Era, those of the smaller "big" bands that played in clubs in such places as Harlem in the heyday of the Thompson gun-toting gangster. Maximino to me is an archetypal gangster character, a man who prides himself on having arrived in the world, and he has spared no expense in decking out his gambling club to show it. The music he would listen to, and the kinds of bands he would hire to play at the club, would reflect that sense of opulence as well. The main part of the music is inspired by recordings of the early Ellington band, when the Duke led the musical part of the Harlem Renaissance in the late twenties. The bridge, or middle section of the tune, is inspired by the aristocratic sound of bands you might hear in the old Thin Man movies of the early thirties. For the most part, we used live musicians for this recording, and I think they did a great job of capturing the style and musical feel of that era. Their use of period-style mutes and plunger effects on the trumpet and trombones is to me particularly authentic, and gives the tune a comic kind of menace, perfect for Maximino's personality. -Peter McConnell