Take the biggest hit songs on the planet, add some rockin' swing, scorching electric guitar, put it into a blender with an 18-piece Big Band and you have something pretty mind-blowing. Classical music is the fertile ground of the greatest melodies ever written, and you will know every single one on this CD (even if you don't recognize the titles). As great as these classical melodies are, however, when presented in their original context among long and drawn out movements, they're often very hard for most people to digest. As a result, the majority of music fans don't own any of it. With Wolfgang's Big Night Out Setzer has embarked on the most ambitious undertaking of his career in re-arranging and orchestrating these classical pieces into streamlined hit melodies that are nothing short of WOW!
Sure, a dozen swinging, rocking Setzer-ized tunes inspired by the most popular themes in classical music seems a little silly--but it also sounds great. As the ex-Stray Cats guitarist blazes his way across the fretboards, Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 becomes "Take the 5th," and Grieg's "Hall of the Mountain King" morphs into "One More Night with You," complete with lyrics that lust both for the joy of rock and the chorus of colleens who sing along with Setzer. The horns play foil to Setzer's ebullient six-string antics, which zing with humor and virtuosity, archly taking on Mozart's "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik," transformed into the finger-popping title track, or rippling through the finger-busting cartoon-speed solos of "Honey Man," a rockabilly rave-up based on Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee." Guitar buffs will also appreciate the variety of tones Setzer employs. He's trad-jazz clean in "1812 Overdrive," rabidly surfy for Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance," and sweetly pure on nylon-string guitar in "For Lisa," his gypsy swing twist on Beethoven's "Für Elise." This may be a lowbrow take on highbrow music, but Setzer keeps his standard lofty, and the results are a blast. --Ted Drozdowski