Copyright ©2012 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Music critic Milo Miles has a review of the new album, "Hurricane Season in Brooklyn." It's what happened when a group of studio musicians assembled to perform the music of a fellow session player and producer at The Hook Studios in Brooklyn.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MILO MILES, BYLINE: Albums made by collections of professional studio players once had a bad reputation with the traditional rock audience. Such works were supposedly arid and chilly, more like the results of a board meeting than a recorded adventure of an organic group of fabulous friends.

There may be some music fans who still feel that way, but they are few. Nowadays, a tight knit gaggle of session musicians like the Analog Players Society gets points from traditionalists simply because the music is being made by flesh and blood. The Analog Players Society was put together by a producer and percussionist in his mid-30s who calls himself Amon.

The title of the album, "Hurricane Season in Brooklyn," shows that he knows that humor is a fine antidote to worries about arid and chilly. Much of the album is, indeed, jaunty, even rollicking.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MILES: Another aspect of "Hurricane Season in Brooklyn" that might make purists suspicious is that the album works both as a party soundtrack and as a quick-changing jam that's delightful while you sit in a chair. I would argue that this is a strength of successful studio pro workouts. The sass and variety of Amon's arrangements and music writing tickle the body, while the smarts and deafness of the plain captivate the mind.

Amon's most audacious stroke is reworking three rather cheesy dance rock hits from the '80s into the most successful reggae style tracks in years. The standout is "I Can't Wait," originally by Nu Shooz. Singer Cecelia Stalin can't do much with the drab lyrics, but her scatting is the real statement, anyway.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I CAN'T WAIT")

CECELIA STALIN: (Singing).

MILES: "Hurricane Season in Brooklyn" is a bit brief by CD standards, nine tracks at just under 40 minutes, but that would make a healthy LP and there's not a minute of padding. The Analog Players Society is some of the best evidence since the rise of Vampire Weekend, formerly exotic international music, particularly African rhythms and accents, has become an everyday part of the ever richer mix of sources for modern popular tunes. Yet more styles the studio pros have to master. May they all wear their learning as lightly as the Analog Players Society.

GROSS: Milo Miles lives in Boston. He reviewed "Hurricane Season in Brooklyn" on the Studio Brooklyn label.

Coming up, Maureen Corrigan reviews the new memoir, "My Husband and My Wives: A Gay Man's Odyssey," by Charles Rowan Beye. This is FRESH AIR.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright © 2012 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.