In 2014 Panorama Jazz Band made a commitment to release one song a month available via their Bandcamp subscription club, called Good Music for You. While they’re still going strong with that commitment, every once in a while they bundle up a few of those treasures and release them as a collection. Such is the case with their latest album, Let the Music Play You.
As expected from a band that refuses to be boxed in, the songs selected take you on a world journey, sampling from and easily replicating a broad spectrum of genres, styles and cultures including Balkan brass, klezmer, American folk, Latin American, Jewish, ragtime, pop, Filipino and country tunes. “Old MacDonald Had a Band” is a fun take on the children’s classic, and ’60s pop hit “The Tighten Up” gets a New Orleans treatment. They’ve also featured a few guest artists to great effect. Antoine Diel sings a gorgeous interpretation of the Filipino love ballad “Dahil Sa Iyo (Because of You)”; Ben Ellman lends his tenor sax to the klezmer gem “Bubbe Tantz (Granny Dance)”; Meryl Zimmerman is perfection on the Spanish-tinged Sephardic Hanukkah song “Ocho Kandelikas (Eight Little Candles)”; and Jane Harvey Brown is wide-eyed and gentle on the Appalachian song “I Wonder as I Wander.”
Big praise to the band for their copious liner notes. They’ve gone to great lengths to list each track’s origins, release date, length and featured artists. It’s these details that illuminate the significance of each song and make a great jumping-off point for nerding out.