Artists are always re-interpreting the classics. Summers are filled with Shakespeare in parks, Lorde is singing Replacements songs, Broadway shudders under the weight of old movie adaptations (Yo, Adrienne!), and Death of a Salesman–contrary to its morbid title–is about the most vital piece of (non-musical) theater in America. (Salesman has been revived on Broadway FOUR separate times since its debut in 1949.) Then there’s Anna Karenina starring Keira Knightley, a veteran also of bringing Jane Austen heroines to life. And on and on. It’s redux deluxe out there.
But what about those almost classics? What if you prefer that lady from the “Where’s the beef?” ads to soprano Renée Fleming? We live in a world where the gatekeepers have gotten the boot, where all taste is equal, and where personal preference is easily fulfilled. So that one man’s quirky, annoying TV commercial is somebody else’s Lear. Or at least as worthy of reconsideration, homage, and interpretation as the paradoxically undying Willy Loman. Enter Dan Weiss, the masterly drummer and composer who hears in the human voice at its breaking point great percussive rhythms that he mirrors on the drums. Or that he accompanies, we’re not sure. Here Mr. Weiss honors–and elevates–the art of the great speed talker John Moschitta, who was peculiarly famous in the 1980s for personifying the idea of speed for FedEx, which promised to deliver your packages as fast as he could speak.