Deconstructing Dad is a peculiar film. A documentary about jazz composer-turned-electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott made by his son, Stan Warnow, the film was produced to fulfill a dual purpose: To introduce new audiences to Scott’s work, and also as a way for Warnow to rediscover his connection to his distant, reclusive father. As such, the film is pulled in these two different, although not necessarily exclusive, directions throughout. In essence, the film both benefits and suffers from the familial relationship between its creator and subject.
The film opens with a montage of photographs of Raymond Scott’s life and career, accompanied by Warnow’s narration. The director explains how his father, born Harry Warnow in then- East New York, got his first breaks as a music composer, formed the Raymond Scott Quintette, and quickly gained a national audience with his recordings. Commentators, including music buffs; former business associates; and Scott’s first wife, Pearl, describe Scott’s early successes; along with his idiosyncrasies, which were manifested in his music, as well as his personal life. (At one point, his wife describes Scott leaving his own wedding reception in order to continue tinkering with electronics.) Read the rest of this entry →