The Markko Polo Adventurers ‎– Orienta (1959)

We’ve already got a little good share of Exotica here in the ‘IM’, you can easily go for Yma, Russ, and Dominic for your exquisite delight! But I think we should talk a little bit more about it since its one of my fav genres, always with some magical cover and a fantastic vibe from faraway, today’s album is no different so let’s get a ticket to the (wild) East.

Let’s go to our history:

Exotica is a form of easy-listening lounge music that draws upon world music, but it doesn’t aim for authentic replication. Instead, exotica’s primary concern is lightweight entertainment, gathering readily identifiable ethnic sounds into a smooth, easily digested pop form. The music typically conjures up images of exotic foreign tourist destinations geared toward white Americans, and in that sense, it’s sort of the equivalent of a pre-packaged resort vacation: fun, inauthentic, and safely familiar. (!)

1958 Fire Goddess

Exotica is usually arranged for standard orchestras, with instrumentation added according to the location being evoked (ethnic percussion, string instruments, etc.); some exotica also borrows the otherworldly sound effects that define the space-age pop style. The Pacific, the Caribbean, Latin America, Brazil, and Africa are among exotica’s most popular regional musical sources, major exotica artists include Les Baxter, Martin Denny, Arthur Lyman, Eden Ahbez, Gene Rains, Esquivel, Yma Sumac and many more.

Let’s go to our artist:

Orienta was the work of three music industry professionals with a history of involvement in exotica and easy listening music. Producer Simon Rady was coming off the huge success of The Music from Peter Gunn, which spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart, and won the inaugural Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1959. Associate producer Michael H. Goldsen was one of the industry leaders in popularizing Hawaiian music and was later inducted into the (legendary) Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame.

Debra Paget in Fritz Lang’s The Indian Tomb

The album was arranged and conducted by Gerald Fried, a Juilliard School-trained oboist who later went on to fame as a composer of music for motion pictures and television, including the 1960s series Star TrekThe Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Gilligan’s Island.

Orienta was an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of exotica music in the late 1950s. The genre’s popularity peaked in 1959 as Martin Denny’s 1957 album Exotica spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s album chart. The album was recorded in stereo and was designed to appeal to the growing popularity of albums demonstrating the new technology. It features a wide assortment of woodwind and rhythm instruments as the liner notes describe a recording studio filled with as many as 25 percussion instruments.

Sandy Warner, 1959

Let’s go to our album:

The album’s liner notes stated that:

”The music resembles the dreams of an imaginative person who has fallen asleep during a ‘Dr. Fu Manchu’ movie on television, with vignettes that combine the sounds of the East with the wit of the West; the charm of the Orient with the humor of the Occident.”

A lost lounge gem from the RCA catalog, with a dreamy exotica feeling, Gerald Fried arranged and conducted this faux (studio) group, and his overall approach has lots of sweeping woodwinds and percussion, similar to the great Les Baxter work on Capitol during the period. The tracks have a pronounced Eastern feel including original compositions and adaptations from Rimsky-Korsakov, Harry Warren, and Vernon Duke.

The ‘IM’ highlights are Rain in Rangoon and Mountain High, Valley Low.

Tracks Include:

A1 Song Of India-Beggars’ Procession
Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Composed By: Rimsky-Korsakoff

A2 Yokahama Ferryboat
Composed By: Leon Pober

A3 Rain In Rangoon
Composed By: Vèrnon Duke

A4 Madam Sloe Gin’s
Composed By: Leon Pober

A5 The Girl Friend Of A Whirling Dervish
Composed By – Dubin, Warren, Mercer

A6 Mountain High, Valley Low
Composed By: Bernard Hanighen, Raymond Scott

B1 Scheherazade
Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Composed By: Rimsky-Korsakoff

B2 Limehouse Blues
Composed By: D. Furber, P. Braham

B3 Night Of The Tiger
Composed By: Leon Pober

B4 Nagasaki
Composed By: H. Warren, M. Dixon

B5 Train To Ranchipur
Composed By: Gerald Fried

B6 Runaway Rickshaw
Composed By: Leon Pober

Credits

Arranged By: Gerald Fried
Conductor: Gerald Fried
Co-producer (Associate): Michael H. Goldsen
Producer: Simon Rady
Recorded By (Engineer): Thorne Nogar

Notes

Recorded in Hollywood, California, May 15, 21 and 31 and June 6, 1958

Gerald Fried, Alive and Kicking

Dominic Frontiere and His Orchestra – Pagan Festival: An Exotic Love Ritual For Orchestra (1959)

Together with Yma Sumac’s exquisite records, Russ Garcia’s Fantastica, and the unknown The Markko Pollo Adventures self titled album, our today entry comes with great passion, a personal favorite in the Exotica and Space Age Pop universe. You can check a dossier about the subject here, and with our last entries highlighted on top! We believe that the milestone works from Martin Denny and famous arranger Les Baxter are truly amazing, though due to the high commercial appeal and large number of releases, the musical developments became to dilute throughout the years, climaxing with the death of the genre in the mid-60’s.

folder cópia

Together with Yma Sumac’s exquisite records, Russ Garcia’s Fantastica, and the unknown The Markko Pollo Adventures self titled album, our today entry comes with great passion, a personal favorite in the Exotica and Space Age Pop universe. You can check a dossier about the subject here, and with our last entries highlighted on top! We believe that the milestone works from Martin Denny and famous arranger Les Baxter are truly amazing, though due to the high commercial appeal and large number of releases, the musical developments became to dilute throughout the years, climaxing with the death of the genre in the mid60’s.

Nevertheless, expect to encounter ‘Hypnotique’ and ‘The Passions’ here soon!

Let’s go to our artist:

Dominic Frontiere
Dominic Frontiere

Dominic Frontiere (17 June 1931, New Haven, Connecticut) grew up in a musical family, learning several instruments before adopting the accordion as his main focus. He proved a prodigy, and was travelling to New York for lessons with accordion virtuoso Joseph Biviano at 7 and performing solo at Carnegie Hall at the age of 12. From an early age, its interest in music went beyond just performing, though, and he studied classical music, arranging, and composition through high school and after!

He joined Horace Heidt’s big band in 1949, replacing accordion star Dick Contino and becoming lead arranger as well. He left Heidt in 1952 and moved to Hollywood, where he studied with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco at UCLA and with violinist and studio conductor Felix SlatkinFrontiere was then, taken under the wing of Alfred Newman, music director at 20th Century-Fox studios, and his brother, famous film composer Lionel Newman, who soon had him working on a variety of scoring jobs.

Alfred Newman
Alfred Newman

Frontiere experimented several novelties from his studio work, one was an album for Columbia, Pagan Festival, that is now recalled fondly as one of the prime examples of true exotica. One suspects that he ran Yma Sumac’s albums for a few spins while conceiving on the pieces on this work, which feature titles as ‘Jaguar God’Venus Girl’, with subtitles recalling Mayan or Inca language, as Ixtab, and Tampu-Anca.

Dominic has concentrated on composing for films/television since the early ’60s. His scoring credits include such films as Hang ‘Em High, Incubus, Chisum, The Train Robbers, Brannigan, and The Stunt Man. On television, he composed the theme for the aliens-are-among-us series, The Invaders, science fiction The Outer Limits, and also The Fugitive, The Flying Nun, BrandedMovin’ Onamongst many others.

1968 Film Poster
1968 OST

Along with Art Van Damme and Johnny Hamlin, he ranks among the leading (and only) jazz accordionists, with an active career until the ’90s. Recently many of its soundtracks were available in cd re-releases, where you can check it out here!

Let’s go to our album:

The liner notes on the back cover spoke of the music’s “interpretation of ancient Inca rituals, superstitions, and the romance and mysteries of their colorful civilization“, but the blending of musical styles was not limited to that of the ancient Latin American culture (if anyone knew what that would sound like!). Frontiere let his imagination run wild, and he brought in sounds from the South Pacific to Eastern Europe, e.g.

1963/64 OST
1963/64 OST

So, here a female choir wafted in and out along with string sections, brasses, and reeds, creating a patchwork quilt that somehow held together. Frontiere‘s music charmed like an entertaining Hollywood score for a movie set in some faraway place, it may not have been historically accurate, but it was a lot of fun to listen to, jouir!

The ‘IM’ highlights are House of Dawn (Paccari-Tampu) and Venus Girl (IX-Koben).

Lastly, this is an exclusive release, เดินทางที่ดี!

Tracks Include:

A1 Festival

A2 House of Dawn (Paccari-Tampu)

A3 Temple of Suicide (Ixtab)

A4 Moon Goddess (Ixchel)

A5 Time of Sunshine (Yaxkin)

A6 Goddess of Love (X-Tabai)

B1 House of Pleasure (Tampu-Anca)

B2 The Harvest (Zax)

B3 Corn Festival (Zabacil Than)

B4 God of Seasons (Kukulkan)

B5 Jaguar God (Balam)

B6 Venus Girl (IX-Koben)

Credits

  • Artwork: Irene Trivas
  • Composed, Conductor: Dominic Frontiere

Columbia ‎– CL 1273

Beltrane Fire Festival
Beltrane Fire Festival