I go to burlesque clubs for the music. Okay, that's not true -- I've never been to a burlesque club -- but when I saw the album Tease! The Beat of Burlesque I was curious as to the sort of music that was used in these shows.
Tease! is a collection of mostly jazz, with a little blues, recorded between 1952 and 1961. Not being into either jazz or blues, I only recognized one artist (Charlie Parker) and one song ("The Stripper" by David Rose, the most recognizable song ever playing during a striptease). The songs here are heavy on saxaphone and piano, with vocals on a few songs and the drum keeping the beat. The songs are pleasant; and if it weren't for the title of the album -- and the aforementioned David Rose tune -- I wonder if people would associate these songs with the burlesque stage.
This brings up the major deficiency in the album: information. The notes for this music collection only give the song title, artist, and year of release. How were these songs picked? Were they all used in burlesque shows -- or even written specifically for them? What about a little history of the clubs themselves? Such information is totally absent here.
That said, this collection is a pleasant trip to a time when bump 'n grind was done not to loud rock songs with pounding beats, but rather to smooth jazz and soulful riffs. This album didn't turn me into a jazz lover, but if you enjoy jazz, or want to try stripping to something before the 1980s, check out Tease! The Beat of Burlesque.
Overall grade: B-
Reviewed by James Lynch