Monday, July 8, 2013

Slow Burn Music Video Premiere

Edgar Kennedy, Master of the Slow Burn, is destined for a comeback, and perhaps even sparking a viral revival of his trademark "Slow Burn" in the process. Such prospects may sound like something out of a Hollywood movie, but set aside the skepticism and check out the internet premiere here of Edgar's new music video "Slow Burn."    

Charlie Barnett, who wrote the music and lyrics to Slow Burn is a distinguished film composer with impressive credentials. His scores have appeared in more than 400 television and theatrical films, including original scores for Saturday Night Live, The Cosby Show, Third Rock from the Sun and Weeds.

Charlie's work in documentary film include productions and series for PBS, A&E, Discovery Channel, Walt Disney and more. His score for a doc about the Holocaust, Paper Clips won the 2004 Rome International Film Festival’s Jerry Goldsmith Award. Paper Clips also won the Christopher Award for 2006 and was nominated for an Emmy. Charlie has also arranged and produced pop and jazz records for countless artists including Thrice for Island/Def Jam and Jason Falkner for Elektra. He continues to proudly travel and play with the eclectic jazz sextette, Chaise Lounge and can also be heard as an occasional commentator on NPR.

The soundtrack for Slow Burn was recorded by a group Charlie co-founded. Chaise Lounge is six of Washington D.C. area’s top jazz musicians who play enchanting arrangements of standards and original tunes featuring the soft, luminous vocals of Marilyn Older. 

How this eclectic group of contemporary artists came to join the Edgar Team in our quest to revive Edgar Kennedy is an inspiring tale. There has been a version of the Slow Burn song with video clips of Edgar on Youtube for a couple of years now and it has been our highest hope that once we achieve Kickstarter funding we could cut a deal to use the first minute as the theme song for The Edgar Kennedy Show.

Usually negotiating a music clearance takes time and can quickly become complicated and costly. Not this time. Producer Bob Campbell easily found Charlie Barnett's contact number from his website and placed the call. Charlie was instantly delighted to hear what we are doing to bring back Edgar and generously granted us full license at no cost to use the Chaise Lounge master recording in any way to advance the project, including as the theme song for production of the first six episodes! This kind of support is the key to a successful Edgar Kennedy revival funded by Kickstarter.  

We asked Charlie to talk about Slow Burn and Chaise Lounge:

What inspired you to write a song about an obscure comedian from the silent and early sound era?

I wrote the song sometime in 2009. I have always loved the film comedians from the 20s, 30s and 40s. I was a huge Laurel & Hardy fan. I still think these are some of the funniest films I have ever watched. Not much else in that category was available to me.

I remember the first time I saw Charlie Chaplin in The Gold Rush. The scene that has him skittering around his little house while the wind blows him back from the door still makes me laugh every time I think of it. Somehow I became aware of Edgar Kennedy. My father used to do the slow burn. I believe he was the one who first mentioned Edgar's name to me.

How did fellow Chaise Lounge musicians react when you first passed out the new song and they read the lyrics?

Ha. You don't know musicians. Mostly they don't listen to the lyrics. I taught the song to Marilyn, who loved it. Although she had never heard of Edgar.I think she really brings a beautiful, soft sentimentality to the story in the song. But I think we had rehearsed the song three times before someone in the band said "Hey, what on earth is this song ABOUT?" Of the guys in my band, only Pete Ostle was aware of Edgar Kennedy. Somehow this must have spoken to Tommy, because later, after the song was recorded, he made the video that you found on YouTube.

Vocalist Marilyn Older does an amazing job of conveying the generational gaps between Edgar's era and today. What can you tell us about Marilyn and her seemingly natural talent for interpreting classic (and original) jazz.

She is a natural story-teller. She has an uncanny ability to gracefully and liltingly present a melody and a lyric without weighting it too much in one direction or the other. Leaving it up to the listener to find their own interpretation. I think she internalizes the story first and is then able to simply sing the melody.

Any interesting anecdotes associated with public performances of Slow Burn?

My favorite is something you cannot hear in this performance. But while I am introducing the song Slow Burn, the bass player, Pete Ostle is ( off mic) telling the crowd that The Kennedy Center is named for Edgar!

You can enjoy a performance of Slow Burn performed by Chaise Lounge at The Kennedy Center here. During his introduction to the song Charlie demonstrates for the audience an admirable interpretation of Edgar's slow burn. Great thanks for contributing the song, Charlie, and if the song goes viral we will be the first to nominate you as "Maestro of the Slow Burn." 

Anyone can help assure the Edgar Kennedy revival is successful by sharing the Slow Burn music video with your Facebook friends, in blogs, newsletters and other social media, and whenever you share it, please include a link to The Edgar Kennedy Restoration Project. Liking Edgar on Facebook will help gather the fan support needed  prior to launching the Kickstarter campaign.

Now as a special treat, especially for all who love truly inspired jazz interpretations of works by iconic musical maestros, we wrap things up with an energetic performance by Chaise Lounge that is sure to leave you with a "slow glow." Here is Chaise Lounge at The Hamilton, Washington, DC, December 7, 2012. Song: "Gone at Last" by Paul Simon. Video courtesy of The Hamilton, For more of the Chaise Lounge experience visit  

1 comment:

Jon Ted Wynne said...

Great blog! Never knew much about Edgar Kennedy--one of those brilliant but little-known character actors without whom Hollywood would be a much less interesting place. Thanks for writing this and sharing Kennedy's story. All the best with getting his work rediscovered and newly appreciated!