Thursday, January 12, 2012

2011 album collection part 3

Exotica is a relatively recent interest for me, as formerly rare albums have become so easy to find at music blogs. I rarely played it on my radio shows (I did spin jazzy "cocktail" music). Exotica basically comes in two forms, cinematic & lounge; the former mostly imitating movie soundtrack music; the latter a small group style  associated with Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, vibes or marimbas, & band members sometimes  adding bird calls, that quickly became self-parodying.  Exotic could mean Hawaii, Tahiti, Bali. Africa, Peru, Cuba, the orient, India, some albums making ridiculous claims about authenticity in an era before there was much access to "world music" recordings. Is, say, a Perez Prado mambo record "exotica"? Depends upon the context.

Pagan Festival - An Exotic Love Ritual for Orchestra (1959), composed & conducted by Dominic Frontiere.  Frontiere is  from the lower rank of screen composers; the ones who never composed for a classic film, a high budget epic, or garnered an Oscar nomination. His only two well-known compositions are the themes from "Hang "em High" & the TV show "Outer Limits." He also spent 9 months in jail  for scalping tickets to the 1980 Super Bowl, which he obtained through his then-wife, Los Angeles Rams owner Georgia Frontiere.  Pagan Festival is supposedly an "interpretation of ancient Inca rituals, superstitions, and the romance and mysteries of their colorful civilizations." Sure. Singer Yma Sumac made approximately the same claims for her records. Nevertheless , it's an excellent example of cinematic exotica,  one of the best, wonderfully arranged for  orchestra, percussion, wordless chorus, & a prominent harp. I really like seven of the selections, discovered someone had uploaded four of the other five to You Tube. "Temple of Suicide," "House of Pleasure," "Jaguar God," "Moon Goddess," you can't go wrong with titles like those.

Augie Colon - Sophisticated Savage (1958). Colon was in tiki exotica master Martin Denny's band (this album produced by Denny), & was a legendary nightclub percussionist in Hawaii. The goofy cover shows the proceedings aren't being taken that seriously. Colon has an ace band, the album a tropical, African, Latin, Caribbean hybrid - that is, truly exotica.  Colon's singing reminds me a bit of Desi Arnaz.

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How about a little Esquivel and some space age bachelor pad music!
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