Rhythm & Views

David Greenberger and 3 Leg Torso

For three decades now, David Greenberger has fashioned a unique cottage industry with his Duplex Planet 'zine, radio show, comic book adaptations, recordings and concerts. In all of its forms, Duplex Planet has one constant: verbatim stories he recorded from the elderly in nursing homes, starting in the 1970s at the Duplex Nursing Home in Massachusetts. The stories run from the comic and surreal to the disjointed and deeply morose. An unimpeachable respect and fondness for his subjects runs throughout all of Greenberger's work. The result is a totally original and often hilariously bizarre body of work with no precedent that I'm aware of.

Whispers, Grins, Bloodloss and Handshakes is his second CD with the Portland, Ore., combo 3 Leg Torso. This highly polished five-piece excel at any sort of string-based music (from classical and klezmer to gypsy and avant garde) on accordion, violin, drums, vibraphone, double bass and more. The collaboration is fruitful for both parties: Greenberger has world-class players to illustrate his monologues; 3 Leg Torso have a world-class raconteur to work with in a lively and innovative setting. Featuring 14 short pieces with titles like "Whiskey Painter," "Ask Einstein" and "Fling Flung Bing," the album features Greenberger running down lists and reciting remarkable tales about kangaroos, dreams, parents, electronic music and more in his wonderfully expressive, sympathetic voice. The band is perfectly pitched, brimming with versatility and invention. This is sit, listen and marvel material.