The Brian Setzer Orchestra

Wolfgang’s Big Night Out

It’s always risky to cover another artist, especially one who has been dead long enough to become a historical figure. Brian Setzer, however, has decided to turn a large group of cherished classical composers over in their graves by filling Wolfgang’s Big Night Out with classical big band charts. There’s Grieg’s melody from “In the Hall of the Mountain King” sung as a rockabilly number, much the way bebop vocalists sing instrumental jazz tunes but with a cheesier result. Then there’s the “Oh the honey man is here” line on the “Flight of the Bumblebee” refrain. Setzer’s instrumental arrangements aren’t unpleasant, but the CD, much like a Richard Cheese album, is a novelty. That it’s not meant to be taken seriously doesn’t make things much better. To Setzer’s credit, the guitarist and bandleader adds new melodic content that, instead of bastardizing the original compositions, sounds correct in the context. 2 stars.