Josh Greenberg and Bill Vitek’s Rhythm and Rhymes is a slick blend of traditional children’s verses and contemporary music. You know the rhymes are winners; ”London Bridge” and ”Pop Goes the Weasel” have charmed kids for centuries. The intricate rhythms of saxophonist/singer/composer Josh Greenberg may elude preschoolers, but who cares? Parents will love them.
Greenberg’s formula, when he is not turning old rhymes into simple ballads, is to set a sweet chorus of children’s voices against a sophisticated jazz riff. In ”Brother John,” for example, the chorus begins the old song slowly and then Greenberg jumps in, with a bluesy, contemporary version. The contrast makes you appreciate both components. It’s weird, but it works.
So do Greenberg’s delightful versions of ”Simple Simon” and ”This Old Man.” In a tickle-the-ivories ”Three Blind Mice,” he really wails, and my toddler really wiggles. Worth buying, and worth listening to, even if you’re the parent, not the kid. A