Disco Veteran Coati Mundi (Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band) on Strings in Disco

“Back in the disco days STRINGS were front and center.  They were an integral part of the music thus they were figured into the recording budgets automatically.

Strings were prominently featured in many of the disco classics like ‘Fly Robin Fly’, ‘Last Dance’ and ‘YMCA’.  In fact many disco songs made use of the orchestral sound including ‘Let’s All Chant’, ‘Fifth of Beethoven” and the disco versions of the ‘Star Wars’ & ‘Space Odyssey’ themes.

Specifically on our albums (Dr. Buzzard’s Original Savannah Band) STRINGS gave our music a sizzling sophistication.  We used them in every one of our songs. Strings acted as a time machine taking us to a bygone era and place.  They triggered our imagination in real time.   They added animation to our dreams.

As kids we were thrilled by the mere sight of all these amazing players gathering in one room to adorn our record.  Charlie Calello did the orchestrations for our first record and then in subsequent albums we used legendary figures like Jimmy Haskell and Van Alexander.

Witnessing all this inspired me to learn string orchestrations.  Was fortunate to work with amazing performers like Harry Lookofsky, David Nadien, Marin Alsop and Jill Jaffe.

As an arranger it was a career highlight to stand in front of all these talented and celebrated artists.   For the most part I am self-taught so initially I was a bit intimidated.  I thought due to a preconceived idea there would be a certain amount of snobbery but it never materialized.  These highly trained musicians were most patient and generous and eased my fear.   They also made our music ‘dance.’

As an audience member there is nothing as thrilling as to see and hear real strings.  The minute you see them, even one violin player in a subway, it takes the whole musical experience to a higher aural dimension. The visual impact of seeing a string ensemble is priceless. When it came to disco music Violins, Violas & Cellos represented royalty. Strings were King … ummm … and Queen!!!” – Coati Mundi (Disco veteran)


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