Monday Off: big band era vocals meet contemporary harmonies. The group's name comes from musical theater's traditional night off. They've played Carnegie Hall and made their TV debut on ABC's World News Tonight with Bucky Pizzarelli - playing christmas tunes.
Monday Off makes me think of the Modernaires. One of them even looks like he could have been a Modernaire. They remind that vocal groups such as the Four Freshmen and The Kingston Trio (yes, The Kingston Trio) inspired the Beach Boys whose Brian Wilson, the Mozart of our times, composed "Pet Sounds" and "Smile."
"Smile" was some 30 years in the making. The Trio gave the very vocally oriented now Middle Aged Beached Men their original stage outfits of button down shirts. Bob Shane, memorable singer of Scotch And Soda, told me in an interview several years ago, that the Trio's first ever gig was opening for Thelonious Sphere Monk. In the first volume of his Chronicles, Bob Dylan wrote that he went to see Monk and told him he was a folksinger. Monk allowed that that was "a pretty cool thing to be," then went on playing the piano. Perhaps he'd heard Nina Simone or Odetta sing folk songs in the same clubs Dylan frequented. "It's all music," as Dylan once said.
Monday Off is definitely all music with vocal harmonies to die for. Such as their outstanding take on Lennon/McCartney's "Blackbird," the wry "Take A Trip On My Little Airship" and "Five O'Clock Whistle." "If I Only Had A Brain" would make even Dan Quayle break into dance as he walked out of a John Mellencamp concert to protest an anti-Bush song by his fellow Hoosier.
They're like Manahattan Transfer on Broadway with Bucky Pizzarelli. Lerner/Lowe's "Wouldn't That Be Loverly" describes them perfectly, sorta like late night around here when all the folks have gone to bed at 7 p.m. Put this on. Heat up some hot chocolate. Squeeze your main squeeze should you have one and listen up to Monday Off. Your ears will thank you. Probably even Brian Wilson's one ear that's still working after the Boys' daddy dearest hit him so hard when he was a kid, will thank you too. Taking a cue from Ludwig Van, I'll plead the fifth on that one.