Encomium in Memoriam 1: Jan Berry Jan & Dean / Various
Cinecam Music Productions presents 'Encomium In Memoriam Vol. 1: Jan Berry of Jan & Dean.' Producers Cameron Michael Parkes and Mark A. Moore have assembled an ambitious 30-track album based on Jan Berry's personal archive of music scores (used by the famous Wrecking Crew to record original Jan & Dean songs in the 1960s). 'This is a bit of musical archaeology,' says Parkes, who provided many of the vocals for the album. 'We wanted to revisit the authentic arrangements,' confirms Moore, 'to shed new light on Berry's complex productions, and inspire listeners to explore more of Jan & Dean's original recordings.' Guest artists include P. F. Sloan, Vic Diaz, Jill Gibson, Tom Bahler, and Mike Deasy, all of whom participated in various ways on original Jan & Dean tracks in the 1960s. Other artists include David Marks (former Beach Boys member), Don Grady (The Yellow Balloon), Paul Johnson (surf guitar pioneer), Stephen Kalinich (Brian Wilson collaborator), Probyn Gregory (Brian Wilson band member), and Lisa Mychols, among others. Bonus tracks include audio montages from the personal collections of Berry and Joe Lubin (who discovered and produced Berry's first act, 'Jan & Arnie,' in 1958). Highlights feature Berry at work in the studio with Brian Wilson, Dean Torrence, Arnie Ginsburg, the Matadors, P. F. Sloan, and Steve Barri. Cameron Michael Parkes is a graduate of the film scoring program at UCLA. Mark A. Moore is a Jan Berry and Jan & Dean scholar. Parkes and Moore worked together on music and consulting for the Jan & Dean episode of A&E's Biography in 2002. **************** In the summer of 1958, America's first satellites were in orbit, the country was in it's worst recession since World War II, Hula-Hoops were a household item, Elvis Presley was in the army, and Buddy Holly was still alive. This is the era that spawned Jan Berry and Jan & Dean, as the West Coast music scene began to come to life. As a singer-songwriter, Jan Berry had his first Top 10 hit with "Jennie Lee" (as Jan & Arnie) in June 1958 - six months before Phil Spector hit #1 (as a writer-producer) with the Teddy Bears (December 1958). Spector's Teddy Bears hit ("To Know Him Is To Love Him") was released on Doré Records - the same label that launched Jan & Dean into the Top 10 with "Baby Talk" in 1959. Taking the reins from Lou Adler, Jan Berry signed songwriting and producing contracts with Nevins-Kirshner (1961) and Screen Gems (1963). It was this foundation - along with Jan's connection with Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys - that propelled Jan & Dean into the forefront of the "California Sound" of the early 1960s. Jan & Dean - as part-time musicians attending college - scored 26 national chart records over the brief eight-year period between 1958 and 1966 - including sixteen Top 40 hits on the Billboard and Cash Box charts (seven of which were Top 10). The ride was cut short in April 1966, when Jan suffered brain damage in an automobile accident. But Jan got back on the horse, and returned to the studio in April 1967. The new ride was slow and painful. But it led to new music, a hit national television film about Jan & Dean (1978), and a touring reunion with Dean Torrence that lasted until Jan's untimely death in March 2006. **************** FROM GOLDMINE MAGAZINE: How strange it is that it takes a tribute album, of all things, to reveal the true artistry of Jan Berry, a primary architect of the West Coast sound who just may have been Brian Wilson's equal as a songwriter and arranger. The funny little ditties about little old ladies, cars, girls and superheroes that Jan & Dean spun into 'beach music' gold were undeniably catchy, but perhaps they prevented some from taking Berry seriously as an artist. However, beneath the goofy humor was a complex, rich sonic environment the product of Berry's sublime arrangements and production. Conceived while Berry was still alive and the detailed liner notes say he was excited about the project's possibilities this lush, fully realized 23-track tribute was put together by producers Cameron Michael Parks and Mark A. Moore, as well as associate producers Alan Boyd and David Beard, using Berry's personal archive of musical scores. And all involved including guests like P.F. Sloan, Jill Gibson and David Marks among others take great pains not to trample over Berry's legacy, their orchestral flair and great reverence for the source material ensuring this was done right. Swaddled in mellifluous harmonies and warm horns, 'Dead Man's Curve' and 'I Found A Girl' with it's snappy, uptempo gait are simply magical reworkings, while the instrumental ''B' Gas Rickshaw,' ignited by a drag-racing intro, surprises with it's cinematic scope, sweeping strings and charming playfulness. 'Ace of Hearts' and 'When It's Over' swoon with heavy, delicious melodrama, without feeling insincere or heavy-handed, and 'Carnival of Sound' is vibrant and exotic, fulfilling Berry's original psychedelic vision and offering ample evidence of his ability to change with the times. With most tribute albums, it's hard to tell if the artists are participating only to further their own careers. Or, rather, it's painfully apparent that that's exactly what they're there for. On 'Encomium In Memoriam: Vol. 1 Jan Berry of Jan & Dean,' there is no room for such vanity. Each piece is meticulously crafted and gorgeously fleshed out; even the incidental scraps from the harpsichord musings of 'Bat No. 4' and 'Bat No. 1' to the parade of found sounds that is 'Filet of Droll (Part 2)' seem to be carefully thought out to reveal Berry's entertaining court-jester personality. Truly, this was somebody's labor of love. Peter Lindblad Goldmine Magazine April 10, 2009 Issue **************** ARTISTS INCLUDE: P. F. Sloan - (harmonica) Eve of Destruction, Secret Agent Man, Fantastic Baggys Background singer for Jan & Dean, 1964-66 Vic Diaz - (vocals) Matadors, Gents, Sinners, "Tony, Vic, & Manuel" Background singer for Jan & Dean, 1963 Jill Gibson - (vocals, album cover portrait artist) Jan Berry's former girlfriend and songwriting partner Brief member of the Mamas and the Papas Photographer, Monterey Pop Festival (1967) Tom Bahler - (vocals) Love Generation, Partridge Family, Monkees, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra Vocalist on Jan & Dean's unreleased album, "Carnival of Sound" (Warner Bros. 1968) Mike Deasy - (guitar) Former member of the Wrecking Crew Guitarist on Jan & Dean's unreleased album, "Carnival of Sound" (Warner Bros. 1968) David Marks - (guitar) Beach Boys (original member), Dave & the Marksmen, The Moon Don Grady - (vocals) The Yellow Balloon, Windupwatchband, "Robbie Douglas" on the sitcom "My Three Sons" Paul Johnson - (guitar) Surf guitar pioneer, Belairs, Surfaris, Duo-Tones Writer of "Mr. Moto" Stephen Kalinich - (poetry) Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson, P. F. Sloan, Diana Ross Probyn Gregory - (trumpet, flugelhorn, French horn, trombone) Brian Wilson's Band, Wondermints, The Now People Lisa Mychols - (vocals) Sweet Sinsations, Nobody's Girl, Nushu Michael Carey Schneider - (vocals) Sneaker, More than Just the Two of Us Robbin Thompson - (vocals, guitar) Tasmanians, Steel Mill with Bruce Springsteen, Robbin Thompson Band, Solo Artist Tripsitter - (vocals) California Son, Billy Hinsche, Al Jardine Alan Boyd - (vocals, associate producer) Filmmaker, Beach Boys archivist, Endless Harmony, Channel Surfin' Billy Berry - (piano, vocals) Jan Berry's younger brother Laurie Biagini - (vocals) Solo Artist Charles Pett - (vocals) Box o' Clox Woolly Bandits and Special Guests - (vocals, guitar, bass, drums) Say Hello To My Little Friend David Beard - (vocals, design, art direction) Endless Summer Quarterly Cameron Michael Parkes - (vocals, piano, guitar, bass, percussion) Box o' Clox Producer Mark A. Moore - (vocals, guitar, percussion) Jan Berry / Jan & Dean Scholar Producer.