Cool For Cats

Dave HendersonFirebrands

Rampant bongos, strapping aggressive piano, a flute that must have been played by a guy wearing shades and all taken from a live performance captured at the Top Floor with readings by poet Pike Distahl. It’s ‘Like Beat… Man’ by Saroff And The Cool Ones. There’s a double bass played on hand too played by a guy who, given the chance, sidles up to the guitarist – but this is a piano-led rhapsody, they’re just bit players. Going for around $100 if you can find it in good condition, this is a wild and rambunctious slice of beat that strays into the mellow. As one listener put it on the Bongos And Flutes website, this is “everyman beatnik”, some way from Kerouac, Burroughs and Ginsberg. The piano and percussion lead and even when Pike gets into his existential rambling, it’s low in the mix, like he’s the coat room guy reciting as the band plays on and the keyboard player rolls his hands like he’s trying to fit more notes than is humanly possible into proceedings. Saroff And The Cool Ones are suitably obscure, the crowd at the show sound like they’re pepped on Manhattans although their inclusion seems secondary as they evaporate at times, laugh at others. ‘Like Beat… Man’ sounds more penthouse than smoky basement and beret, and the mystery around it remains perfectly intact almost 60 years since it was released. Hear it from your usual online suppliers, thanks to those cooler cats at Fidelity Recordings. Like, wow!

 

Track list

Jay’s Blues

Gone With The Wind

Blue Prelude

Like Beat… Man

Makin’ Whoopee

I’ll Always Be With You

Get Happy