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Friday, February 8, 2013

More Drums Of Passion - Olatunji

Mbira
More Drums Of Passion
Olatunji
Columbia CS 9307

From the back cover: Mbira: Contrary to popular opinion, a variety of musical instruments other than drums exists in Africa, The sansa (a thumb piano or finger xylophone) is native to Africa and is common throughout the continent. It is not known anywhere else except in parts of the Americas, where it was used years ago in place of the bass fiddle. The instrument is made in a variety of styles; the ones used in this selection have a number of metal rattan tongues attached to a sounding ball and box. An additional resonator is used to increase the volume. Each tongue is a simple idiophone which is struck to produce a soft sound like that of a xylophone, but with more of a plucked tone quality. On one of the sans as used, metal pieces are hung from the box handle to add rattling sounds of a different quality. Another instrument used in this selection is the African xylophone, which adds an exciting tonal quality to that of the sansa.

Ayinde
Wasalu
Ire Dodo Ye
Frekoba
Bethelehemu
Mbira
Omo Pupa
Alose

The Music Of Lex Baxter - Don Tiare

Bankok Cockfight
The Music Of Les Baxter
Don Tiare And His Orchestra Exotique
Mercury Records MG 20845
1963

From the back cover: Don Tiare is an international performer whose expressive combo is an familiar in Bangkok as in Bordeaux, as comfortable in Nikko as in Nice, and as suited to the dinner jacket of the London Savoy as to the pareu on the beaches of Tahiti. Long an admirer of the unique Les Baxter creations, he asked the composer to write some original pieces for this album; and those, along with such Baxter standards as Quite Village, Bangkok Cockfight and Crickets Of Karachi, make up a dazzling and somewhat intoxicating tour of the far away places.

If I could tell, from the cover notes, which tunes Baxter apparently wrote for this LP I would post one as a sample.

Quite Village kicks off the album and sounds good, but the vibe is very close to close to Baxter's version. Soon the album takes on a more personal sound that, I assume, reflects Tiare who must play piano on the album(?). I can't find any real info on the man. But the piano seems to be the featured instrument whose sound rings in a strong shimmering fashion over the other instruments. Some of the tunes are pretty jazzy.

The engineering is excellent featuring a rich low end. A terrific listen over all.

Quite Village
Bankok Cockfight
Sampan Landing
Crickets Of Karachi
Girl Behind The Bamboo Curtain
River Of Dreams
Cockatoo
Sunrise At Kowloon
Jacaranda
Jungle Trail
Corazon
Quai Bir Hackeim

From Russia With Love - Richard Lindsey

From Russia To Love
Pink Panther
From Russia With Love
The Pink Panther
Orchestra Conducted By Richard Lindsey
Diplomat
DS 2324

The two titles that appear on this great cheesecake cover are good space age fun. The rest of the album plays like tracks recorded for another easy listening project.

From Russia With Love
A Very Special Love
Theme From Apartment
Happy Anniversary
Pink Panther
Teacher, Teacher
It's Not For Me To Say
Tunes Of Glory

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The New Sounds Of Today

Death Stalk - Michael Eley
Man Born Of A Women - Doretha Mosley
I'm The Cat - Houston McCuller
The Now Sounds Of Today
Columbine Records
9939

I found another excellent song poem album today.

This particular song poem album is pretty flabbergastingly awesome all the way through.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Festival del Cha Cha Cha - Nico Gomez

Andalucia
Festival del Cha Cha Cha
Nico Gomez And His Orchestra
Dansstudio
Jan Verburg

Cha Cha dancers in front of a hotel decorator plant in the Netherlands.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Presentation Of Progressive Jazz - Stan Kenton

This Is My Theme
A Presentation (Concert) Of Progressive Jazz
Stan Kenton And His Orchestra
Capitol Records T172
1948

1947 was the recording date for the original tracks. From the back cover: Come Rain Of Come Shine, Theme For Alto recorded in Hollywood, 1951. So, I take it that this is an early 50s reissue with the two tracks as mentioned above, plus Introduction To A Latin Rhythm and Thermopolae added to fill out this release. The original tracks apparently were issued as a four record EP set(?). I also found the release on a Capitol 10 inch (L172) with the faux wood frame border cover. There is also a reference to Kenton's City Of Glass project. This album apparently may share the tune titled Thermopolae with that release. However, when I look at the track list on Amazon for that title, I find it spelled Thermopyle. I don't know if this is the same track although it probably is.

What really puzzles me is that the album appears to be available only on vinyl?

The work is completely outstanding. My personal comment while listening: "This kicks total ass!". This record is an amazing concept or theme record that forces me reset my thinking on late 40s and early 50s trends and influences. Pete Rugolo apparently deserves a good deal of credit for the Kenton sound during this period. Bob Graettinger is also mentioned in the notes (for Thermopolae).

June Chirsty did the vocals on the sample above and  Lonely Woman and Come Rain or Come Shine.

Other musicians you might recognize playing on the set include: Art Pepper, Laurindo Almeida, Jack Costanzo and Shelly Manne.

Cuban Carnival
Monotony
Lonely Woman
Lament
Thermopolae
Theme For Alto
Impressionism
Elegy For Alto
This Is My Theme
Fugue For Rhythm Section
Introduction To A Latin Rhythm
Come Rain Or Come Shine

Prez - Prez Prado

Prez
Perez Prado
RCA Victor LPM-1556
1958

This one is available for online purchase/download, so I will not be posting a sample.

From the back cover: In "Perez" two sides of the fabulous "King of the Mambo" are presented. One features Prado interpreting Latin rhythms as only he and his musical aggregation can. The other side of Prado is not as familiarly known but is sure to be equally appreciated, for it reveals that Perez Prado is a jazz impresario of the first order.

Terrific cover art and nice tight set. The "jazzy" side is not so divergent in style from the A side that I went into shock. I did prefer the inventiveness of the B side.

Also released by RCA in 1958 on tape.

Exciting Sounds Of The South Seas - Leo Diamond

Exciting Sounds Of The South Seas
Leo Diamond
His Harmonica And Orchestra
Reprise R9-6002
1961

Available online for purchase/download, so I will not be posting a sample. Sorry.

I enjoyed the cover art on this album which seems advanced for 1961. Credits go to Paula Powers and Merle Share.

The song titles on the LP are some of my favorite "exotic" standards from the period, including Beyond The Reef, Pagan Love Song and Hawaiian Wedding Song. However pleasant and not to slight Diamond, the vibe here is too easy listening for me. Diamond made more progressive records that spoiled me including Skin Diver Suite - RCA LPM-1165, 1956.

South Sea Island Magic
Lovely Hula Hands
Beyond The Reef
Breein' Along With The Breeze
Polynesian
Pagan Love Song
My Isle Of Golden Dreams
Ukulele Lady
Under A Blanket Of Blue
How Is The Hour
Hawaiian Wedding Song
Far Away Places

One Of Those Songs - The Fluegel Knights

Miniskirt Waltz
One Of Those Songs
The Fluegel Knights
MTA Records MTS 5014
1968

This King Richard/Dick Behrke MTA release includes reissued tracks from another Fluegel Knights album that I just happened to blog a few days ago titled Cabaret (including the sample above).

Fluegel Knights albums feature interesting if not unique light pop brass arrangements. I do not know why so much of the material, if not all of it, on this album is reprinted.

One Of Those Songs
Cabaret
The Crusaders
Everybody Loves My Baby
Horn Duey
Castle Holiday
In The Still Of The Night
Camelot
Miniskirt Waltz
Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf
A Lover's Concerto

Afro-Cuban Influence - Shorty Rogers

Afro-Cuban Influence
The Big Band Of Shorty Rogers
Featuring The Giants With Carlos Vidal And Modesto
RCA Victor LPM-1763
1958

From the back cover: This album is the result of collaboration by Carlos Vidal, Modesto Duran and myself. The three of us have always been fascinated by the richness, the moods, the color, the variety and the often wild excitement that Afro-Cuban music generates. An earlier experiment produced an album called Voodoo Suite (LPM-1101). In Wuayacanjanga Suite, once again we freely borrow from, and made use of, the thrilling music which, in its many forms, this country imported to its shores and eagerly adopted.

This stunning album can be found online on CD or by purchase/download so I will not be posting a sample.

I treated myself to a real gem this morning when I spun this vinyl. I must say that this LP is a must have, throughly engaging, piece of space age music. A monster album that overshadows much of the big band Latin that I've got in the collection.

Side one

Wuayacanjanga Suite

Side two

Manteca
Moon Over Cuba
Viva Puente
Un Poco Loco

Contrasts - Toot Thielemans

You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me
Contrasts
The Provocative Musical Genius Of Toots Thielemans And His Orchestra
Originated and Produced by Loren Becker and Robert Byrne
Command Records RS 906 SD
1966

From the back cover: He (Thielemans) is a virtuoso guitarist with a brilliant style that is all his own... a composer (he wrote the unforgettable Bluesette) who bubbles with delightfully irresistible melodies... a pioneering master of the harmonica, creator of a superb jazz style ...a whistler who has turned this common, everyday practice into a full-fledged part of his musical arrangements.

This jacket is a single cover (the more typical period Command cover was gatefold style).

The content supports the title and cover theme. There are "contrasts", but the tracks are mutually supporting. The album features more of an overall jazz vibe which is slightly different than much of what was coming out of Command at the time. Interesting find and listen.

As I post this, Thielemans is 90 years old and will be performing a concert, March 13. Visit his website www.tootsthielemans.com

Big Boy
Sweet Georgia Brown
Yesterday And Today
So Nice
Sweet And Lovely
Spanish Flea
Makin' Whoopee
Royal Garden Blues
Bluesette
Blue Lady
You Brought A New Kind Of Love To MeCherokee

Monday, February 4, 2013

Exotic Suite Of The Americas - Perez Prado

Uamanna Africano
Son Of A Gun
Exotic Suite Of The Americas
Perez Prado
And Six Other Prado Sound Spectaculars
RCA LSP 2571
1962

Side one of this album features the Exotic Suite. Side two is billed on the back cover as: Prado offers six thrilling new sound spectaculars dressed in the same colorful and inimitable Prado treatment... still more of the exotic music of the Americas.

Well... no, side two features tracks that sounds like Prado doing 60s Command style discotheque. Aside from a few trademark Prado grunts... I had to look at the record label to make sure that the correct record came out of the jacket and the artist was Prado. The vibe is so far removed from the cover graphic and the content heard on side one... well... it's just strange.

The content heard on side one better reflects the outstanding cover graphic although I still had a hard time getting into the groove of the "suite". The sample above, thankfully is awesomely "exotic". Other passages on side one, to me, do not to support the suggested cover theme or work together all that well.

Still, how can you beat the excellent cover art and Uamanna Aftricano? The tracks on side two are cool light pop even although you may need to make some adjustments to your expectations to consume them.

Theme Of Two Worlds
Amoha
Criollo
Theme Of Two Worlds
Uamanna Africano
Blues in C Major
Theme Of Two Worlds
Midnight In Jamaica
Mama Yo Quiero
Son Of A Gun
Jacqueline & Caroline
El Relicario
I Could Have Danced All Night

Dynamic Adventures In Sound - Mel Henke

Adventure In Steaming Tropics (Mel Henke)
Dynamic Adventures In Sound
Exploring Uncharted Patterns Of Sound
A Spectacular Musical Extravaganza
Architecturally Constructed To Induce The Maximum In Audio Sensation
Arranged And Conducted By Mel Henke
Warner Bros. BS 1447
1962

From the back cover: Recording companies are always on the lookout for new and exciting artists with exceptional creative talents. This is a perfect description of arranger-composer Mel Henke, who is being presented by Warner Bros. Records for the first time. Henke has been known to a select group of fans who have followed his work as a pianist in Chicago and Los Angeles for the past 25 years. This album will be a showcase for Henke's dynamic and humorous approach to orchestral arranging. He calls upon his background as a jazz and classical pianist who was featured in the past on many of our leading radio and television shows. The Henke style of piano was exhibited on the George Gobel TV shows, the Bing Crosby radio show, and in Europe with Garry Moore's "Take In Or Leave It" programs. In recent years, he has become the leading composer-arranger for exciting new concepts in musical TV commercials that have stormed the country.

I've got several albums in The Stereo Workshop Series. Both jackets feature the same basic cover design that promises (based on period design trends) a sound more akin to progressive electronic or avant grade. However, Warner Bros. delivers straight forward light pop, more like a Command offering (which this gatefold seems to take after). The concept really, is to market Warner Bros. stereo engineering to buyers, rather than any type of real experimental sound. The engineering is good with a full rich bass low end.

Overall the vibe is perky big band with moments of extra cool space age kapow!

Adventures With A TV Western – William Tell On The Hoof
Adventures On The Vadeville Stage – Me And My Shadow
Adventure At The Circus – Flying Trapeze
Adventure In The Alps – Little Sir Echo
Adventure On The Carnival Midway – Every Little Movement & Streets Of Cairo
Adventure On The Lake – Row, Go, Go, Your Boat
Adventure In The Back Forty – Old MacDonald Had A Girl
Adventure In The Steaming Tropics – Exotic Adventure
Adventure On The Mason-Dixion Line – South Meets North
Adventure On The Rails – Sentimental Journey
Adventure Of Two Swinging Kids – Jack And Jill Went Over The Hill
Adventure On The Highway – See The U.S.A. In Your Chevrolet

Fly Me To The Sun - Les Reed

Poinciana
Fly Me To The Sun
Les Reed And His Orchestra
Deram DES 18007
1967

From the back cover: This album springs from a recent stay in South America. Listening to the fascinating rhythms to be heard in Brazil, combining this first-hand experience with his pervious enthusiasm for the best in pop songs, and using his gift for writing for string so that they sound fresh but emotional, Les Reed has created a series of arrangements in which atmosphere and good taste combine with good humor and sheer get-up-and-dance enchantment.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Velvet Beat - David Rose

Satisfaction
And I Love Her
The Velvet Beat
David Rose And His Orchestra
MGM Records T-90754

From the back cover: Ask any alert schoolgirl to identify the numbers in this album and you'll begin to get the idea behind it. In simple fact, the music that David Rose has chosen to interpret is the music of our young generation.

It is no longer even generically accurate to term the music of the young "rock and roll," though most youngsters do. To them it is of no real importance what their music is called; it just better be played the way they like to hear it.

In acting on producer Jesse Kaye's conception of this album, David Rose in a way was taking the tiger by the tail. If he undertook to record rock 'n roll tunes, would he possibly alienate his adult audience of millions who have identified him with Holiday For Strings and its many successors over the years? On the other side, would he reach the millions of kids who identify their music with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Sonny & Cher and the rest?


Satisfaction
King Of The Road
Mr. Tambourine Man
You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling
I Can't Stop Loving You
All I Really Want To Do
What's New Pussycat
Are You Sincere
Downtown
The Great Pretender
Mae
And I Love Her