Teletubbies Celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with New Jazz Album

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In a surprise move that shocked even the most ardent jazz fan, the Teletubbies have just released a full-length CD of tunes in the classical jazz idiom. The disc, titled, “Playing It Straight" is on the well known kids' music label, “Tunes For Tots." For those of you adults firmly hidden away in the closet, the Teletubbies are a PBS sensation in children's programming.

A review by Lirpa Sloof on the website calls the release nothing less than stunning. “This is not a children's album! The playing is up there with the best of them: I'm talking Coltrane, Davis, Gillespie -the jazz elite here." Four of the albums offerings are written by the jazz cream of the crop: Ornette Coleman, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bill Evans and David Murray. The remaining songs are originals, but owe a heavy debt to the post-bop players of the fifties and sixties.

Sloof says this is not a CD you'll hear played on your typical smooth jazz station. “It might even be a little “out" for more traditional jazz radio. “On the album, the Teletubbies really embrace jazz like I have not heard in quite awhile. There are no vocals or musical concessions on this album."

“I wouldn't be surprised to see it quickly ride up the jazz charts." The release debuted as #106 on the charts and has already moved up to #68. “I think it's headed for the Grammies next year," added Sloof.

Though it might be wrongly assumed they are not individually playing their own instruments, the Tubbies will take the album on tour, beginning next fall in Lynchburg, VA. More than a dozen dates have been added to their schedule.

*Editor's note: The Coastal Jazz Association is currently negotiating with Teletubby management to secure them for the Savannah Jazz Festival in September -not for the Sunday Children's festival, but as the Saturday night headliner.

Talks have already begun about tours in Europe and Japan.

One can only hope that since the Teletubbies have successfully broke through the barrier of jazz, other children's programming entities will do the same. Sesame Street has for sometime danced around the notion of jazz on disc and there is no reason why Barney can't try his hand at jazz. He certainly has a jazz persona.

“I think, 20 years from now, “Playing It Straight" will be seen as a must-have jazz album for any serious jazz music collector," concludes Sloof. “Right there among your Parker, Davis, Monk, and Kenny G albums."

~ Uoyno Sekoj

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