Postmodern Jukebox drummer Dave Tedeschi knew the band’s sonic architect Scott Bradlee from an off-Broadway show that the two had worked together on. Bradlee regularly asked Tedeschi to appear in his music videos, but Tedeschi, a jazz drummer, had a longstanding commitment to performing at a brunch. One day, his luck changed. Bradlee intended to film on a Thursday. Tedeschi was able to make it to the shoot, and the resulting video, a cover of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” went viral.
“How I knew the video had gone viral was that my aunt who lives in a small farming community in Wisconsin posted the video but didn’t know I was playing drums on it,” says Tedeschi in a recent phone interview from a Cedar Rapids tour stop. He performs with Postmodern Jukebox at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 24, at E.J. Thomas Hall
in Akron. “Her daughter commented on her post and pointed out that it was me on the drums. It reached this small farming community in Wisconsin without me having anything to do with it. It’s a thrill to see how far that went and how it touched so many people and resonated with so many people. It’s a New Orleans beat I’m playing, and a ragtime thing that Scott [Bradlee] is doing. Within a week or so, it had reached millions of people.”
A self-described "throwback carnival" that has toured the world on the popularity of its music videos that have given the band huge followings on YouTube and Facebook, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox released its first live album, The New Classics
, last year. A companion piece to a PBS special taped live at a Postmodern Jukebox show in Las Vegas, the CD accompanies a DVD. The album features a woozy take on the aforementioned “All About That Bass” and a particularly soulful rendition of Beyonce's "Halo" as the band makes contemporary pop songs like jazz standards.
The band’s forthcoming album, The Essentials II
, includes the group's take on Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” featuring American Idol alum Haley Reinhart, a frequent PMJ collaborator, and the Chainsmokers’ “Closer.”
Tedeschi says the band’s appeal stems from the fact that it doesn’t resort to the kind of studio trickery that’s become so popular.
“I think it comes down to the humanity in the music,” he says. “In our world today — and I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing — more and more music is being put through computers and losing this human touch and human feel. Some people love that stuff, and that’s great, but the further you push music and art from the human touch and from human collaboration, the more people are going to miss it and have a sense of nostalgia and feel toward music that’s completely made with the human touch and made in the moment. You see that in the audiences who come out to the shows. You have the older generation that is thrilled we’re making music that sounds like Count Basie or Duke Ellington, but you have these millennials that are coming out because we’re playing the music of Katy Perry or Taylor Swift.”
As an example, he cites the cross-generational appeal he witnessed at a recent gig.
“Last night, I looked into the front row, and there was an 8-year-old sitting next to people who could be his grandparents, and he was enjoying it as much as they were,” he says. “It comes back to real people making real music in the moment, and that’s something we don’t have as much of these days.”