Sweet Dreams Are Made of Squeeze
“So a tuba, a banjo, an accordion and a toy drumset walk into a bar …” That’s what Squeeze-bot’s “About” section informs Facebook browsers. Played by Brandon Johnson, Mick Sullivan, Todd Hildreth and Meg Samples, respectively, the instruments rock, jam, cavort and tantalize. Mixing shtick and superb musicianship, their world is one in which jazz great Charles Mingus’ “Boogie Stop Shuffle” and disco band Lipps Inc.’s “Funky Town” peacefully co-exist back-to-back. Leader Hildreth’s deep jazz roots are evident not only in cover choices (Horace Silver’s hard bop “Nutville,” Carla Bley’s eccentric “Syndrome”), but also in arrangements of songs as diverse as Rufus Wainwright’s “Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk” (dirge to circus and back) and the intense closer, Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit.” Ultimately, the listener hears music, not quirky instrumentation, as Squeeze-bot transcends novelty act status.