Photo by Eric Krause
November 8, 2013
The Blue Wisp, 700 Race St, Cincinnati, OH
Performing as The Claudettes, the piano-drums duo of Johnny Iguana and Michael Caskey have created their own fanatical fusion of blues and soul-jazz – like Ray Charles on a punk kick. Imagine an amped-up piano hybrid of Charles and Mose Allison, joined by a jolly madman drummer and conducted in gonzo fashion by Raymond Scott. Now they’ll be taking their epic sets of spasmodic instrumentals on the road, in conjunction with the October 1 release of “Infernal Piano Plot…HATCHED!” on Yellow Dog Records. File under post-burlesque? Neo-vaudeville? Cosmic cartoon music? You’ve never seen instrumental music done this way.
“Infernal Piano Plot…HATCHED!” is peppered with time-capsule blues tracks like “Stumblin’ Home Satisfied” and their spin on Little Brother Montgomery’s classic “Tremblin’ Blues” – but also the schizoid trip “Chin-Up Tango,” the stomping Crescent City sound of “New Orleans Yard Sale,” the dynamic double-shot of creative composition and wicked improvisation that is “Motörhome/Land of Precisely Three Dances” and the positively Schumann-esque “Do You See It Too?” There is something antique and nostalgic about The Claudettes, with shadows of Tin Pan Alley lurking in the chord changes…and yet something altogether fresh, alive, excited and exciting.