Friday, February 26, 2010

Wake Up!

Today, for your consideration I have a review of Junior Jam's latest kids' music offering, Wake Up. My most recent attempts to review music in my classroom have been unsuccessful. It's been hard to get this younger group of students to focus in on the music and offer constructive criticism, so for now I'm back to flying solo.

This is the forth album from Junior Jam, though this is my first introduction to this trio. Before putting the CD in to listen to Wake Up, I was curious, is this Grateful Dead/Phish style jam-band music for kids? The style of music is actually quite different. Junior Jam has a theatrical, light-hearted sound. With expressive vocal performances by composer Jeff Eisenberg and Adrienne Asterita and Elayne Kessler, Wake Up creates a mood of excitement and joy. In addition to the trio of Jeff, Adrienne and Elayne there are some spectacular "junior" performers on this album (check out the song Going to the Beach). These talented young voices conjure up thoughts of Broadway musicals like Annie.

On the production side, it is clear that a lot of thought and effort went in to the creation of this album. Jeff Eisenberg is a talented song-writer and arranger and his effort have been recognized by the good folks at ASCAP who gave Junior Jam an award for children's music. Ranging from up-tempo numbers like Clap, Tap, Snap to soothing tunes like Lullaby, Wake Up covers a lot of musical territory.

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: Listening to Wake Up by Junior Jam was enjoyable and refreshing. It's nice to hear kids' music that so prominently features kids' voices, but not in the typical sing-songy style that quickly gets on grown-ups nerves. Edgy or Rock and Roll Junior Jam is certainly not. With so many younger kids' artists channeling classic rock and pop stars, Junior Jam is set apart. I could imagine a script tying these songs together and seeing Wake Up as a hit on Broadway. If you and your family enjoy great singing, easy listening and catchy music, Wake up should be in your music collection.

Kid Quote of the Day: Here's a greeting that I hear three times a week at the start of each music lesson, "Mr. Nick you have your shoes, and your hair, and your glasses, and your shirt, and your guitar." ~Ian (age: 3)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Presidents Day

Kid Quote of the Day: "Oops, I farted," Jazmine (age: 4) admitted. "That's okay. You can say, "Excuse me." Do you need to go to the bathroom?" I asked. "No, I told you it just came out!"