Frank Ferrante, Matt Roper On Marx Brothers Soundtrack Album Released Today
Entertainers Frank Ferrante (An Evening With Groucho) and Matt Roper (I'll Say She Is: The Lost Marx Brothers Musical) number among the cast of Lakeshore Records release today of the studio album, a companion to the recently released graphic novel Giraffes on Horseback Salad. Written by pop culture historian Josh Frank (Fool the World: An Oral History of The Pixies), the vividly illustrated book is based on a screenplay written in 1937 by famed Surrealist Salvador Dali as a potential movie for the Marx Brothers.
The screenplay merged Dalí's imaginative art with the fast-paced comedy of the Marx Brothers. Rejected by MGM, the film never made it to the silver screen, disappearing into the annals of history, a footnote in the otherwise prolific careers of artistic greats. Fully realized and re-imagined in graphic novel form (with original songs baked into the book through lyrics sung by the characters in word bubbles), Josh Frank turned his attention to creating a "soundtrack" with song, score and spoken word vignettes.Composer and jazz multi-instrumentalist Quin Arbeitman brought the book to life with a large cast of players and vocalists from around the world including Japanese harpist Kaoru Arai-Colucci who played solos throughout reminiscent of Harpo's contributions to each Marx Brothers film. Dali had originally envisioned music by Cole Porter in the film and Arbeitman found himself channeling Porter in his compositions. The resulting vibrant music with a decidedly vintage flair was recorded in Osaka and Tokyo, Japan and provides the perfect backdrop to the mix of fantasy and classic comedic flourishes. Appearing on the album as characters alongside Frank Ferrante (Groucho) and Matt Roper (Chico) is Brian Hemstock as Jimmy and Charlotte Kerbs as The Surrealist Woman. Brian Baumbartner (Kevin on The Office) also brings his vocal talents to two special tracks and Finnish genre bending band Pepe Deluxe also contribute a theme song to the mix. A comment on the Surrealists desire to challenge the mundane woes of everyday life, Giraffes on Horseback Salad follows Jimmy, a businessman whose life is turned upside down when he encounters the Surrealist Woman, a magical shape-shifting beauty who is turning his upper-class social scene on its head. Jimmy is instantly smitten with the mysterious woman, and as their relationship deepens, the powers of the Surrealist Woman begin to distort the world around them. From eye-popping parties to otherworldly scenes packed with signature Marx Brothers gags, Giraffes on Horseback Salad highlights the best of the iconic creative forces behind its conception, Salvador Dali and the Marx Brothers. Says composer Arbeitman: "Being called on to stir together the zany chaos of the Marx Brothers with Cole Porter's witty grace and Salvador Dali's impeccable absurdity was (much like a Dali painting) a dream come to life that I never even knew I'd had. That such ingredients would birth a soundtrack that's playful and fun was almost a given, but the mysterious beauty simmering under it all came as a complete surprise. I believe Dali's Surrealist Woman was our muse, and thanks to her haunting inspiration, now anyone who wants to see this incredible lost film can do so - simply by putting on the recording and closing their eyes." Behind-the-Scenes video: https://youtu.be/c-vNmRLEzzQ