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

The Corporation – The Corporation (1969)

folderToday we’ll have a short entry, The Corporation might not have done the expected success at its time, but they’re not complete strangers when it comes to psychedelic culture, rediscovered and praised by the bloggers’ network since the mid-2000s. Therefore, this could be called a B side from a major label (Capitol), with paramount importance if we look at what was being produced back then; bands like The Power of Zeus, Autosalvage, Fifty Foot Hose, Kalacakra, amongst others, somehow failed to achieve national recognition, however, after more than 40 years since their respective releases we can see how ahead of time they were, let’s stick with them!?

Let’s go to our artist:

Formed in Milwaukee in 1968 at Cudahy’s Galaxy Club, where the Kondos brothers joined up with members of an outfit called Eastern Mean Time. Some months later they were heard by Capitol reps at another club The Bastille, which the band had bought into. With a contract for an album, the band journeyed to Detroit to record at Tera Shirma studios with producer John Rhys. Even though the record ended up not being a huge commercial success, the band continued to write with hopes of a follow-up record on Capitol, this material was eventually spread across two LPs released by Age of Aquarius label, subsequently, Get on Our Swing and Hassles in My Mind.

1969 Promo
1969 Promo

Perhaps more extensive touring might have propelled their first album to greater heights, but except for Chicago and St Paul, the band remained local. There were no television appearances and nothing else to build a greater audience; a European tour was in the plans, but it fell apart along with disagreements with Capitol Records.

Nick Kondos recalls about it: ‘They treat you like kings, they even set you up with the hottest girls, we went to a jam featuring Jimi Hendrix, and then they get the drugs out. But we found out that the album was selling and we didn’t get a penny. We had an argument with Capitol and that’s how the contract ended. Maybe we were a little impatient. You give it everything you’ve got and, if you want to be a star, you have to let them use and abuse you for a while, and THEN worry about the money.’ (!)

Let’s go to our album:

Released in February 1969, with some serious writing on side one by the Kondos brothers, the Lp is notable for the side-long psych rework of John Coltrane’s India, along with heavy fuzzflutes, harmonica, and vigorous vocals in a trippy overall!

John Coltrane, a Navy Reserve
John Coltrane, U.S. Navy Reserve

Straight and simple, the ‘IM’ highlights are Smile and India (fantastic).

კარგი მოგზაურობა!

Tracks Include:

A1 I Want To Get Out of My Grave (John A. Kondos, Nicholas A. Kondos)

A2 Ring That Bell (John A. Kondos, Nicholas A. Kondos)

A3 Smile (John A. Kondos, Patrick D. McCarthy)

A4 Highway (Gerard J. Smith, John A. Kondos)

A5 Drifting (John A. Kondos)

B1 India (John Coltrane)

Credits

  • Bass, Backing Vocals: Kenneth Bernard Berdoll
  • Drums, Backing Vocals: Nicholas Alexander Kondos
  • Guitar, Flute, Harp, Piano, Backing Vocals: John Alexander Kondos
  • Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals: Gerard Jon Smith
  • Lead Vocals: Daniel Vincent Pell
  • Organ, Trombone: Patrick Daniel McCarthy

Recorded: Tera Shirma Studios, Detroit

Engineers: Milan Bogden and Les Chasey

Produced: John Rhys

Capitol Records ‎– ST 175

Summer of Love, 1967
Summer of Love, 1967

Russ Garcia & His Orchestra – Fantastica (1958)

capa cópiaAs we previously approached on Yma Sumac’s first entry, on the very birth of the genre knows as Exotica, today we’ll recap that and add a new genre: space-age pop!

Space-age pop is a music genre associated with Mexican and American composers and songwriters in the Space Age of the ’50s and ’60s. It is also called bachelor pad music or lounge music. It was inspired by the spirit of those times, an optimism based on the strong post-war economy, technology boom, and excitement about humanity’s early forays into space. Although there is no specific album, date, or year when the genre was born, producer Irwin Chusid identifies its heyday as roughly 1954 to 1963, from the dawn of high-fidelity (hi-fi) to the arrival of the Beatles.

Space Escapade, 1958
Space Escapade, 1958

There are several styles that can be recognized as an influence: classical composers like Ravel, Debussy or Stravinsky; the big bands of the ’40s; and different exotic styles, such as Samba, Latin, and Calypso Jazz. It is also related to Exotica and lounge music and may be regarded as a precursor to space music. (!)

Populated with the outcasts from other well-established genres, Space Age Pop is full of brilliant, bizarre, and exciting sounds, which are particularly striking to ears accustomed to the stereotypes that populate the more familiar genres.

Juan García Esquivel
Juan García Esquivel

Let’s go back to Exotica:

The strictest definition limits exotica to the imitations of Polynesian, Afro-Caribbean, and Hawaiian music that were produced by Les Baxter and others from the mid-1950s to the very early ’60s. There were two primary strains of this kind of exotica: Jungle and Tiki. The jungle was definitely a Hollywood creation, with its roots in Tarzan movies or W.H. Hudson’s novel, Green Mansions. Les Baxter was the king of jungle exotica and spawned a host of imitators while opening the doors for a few more genuine articles such as Chaino, Thurston Knudson, and Guy Warren.

Ritual of the Savage, 1951
Ritual of the Savage, 1951

Tiki was introduced with Martin Denny’s Waikiki nightclub combo cum jungle noises cover of Baxter’s ‘Quiet Village’, although Denny’s vibe player, Arthur Lyman, soon became the style’s most representative artist. Tiki rode a wave of popularity in the late ’50s and early ’60s marked by the entrance of Hawaii as the 50th state in 1959 and the introduction of Tiki hut cocktail bars and restaurants around the United States!

Martin Denny's Group
Martin Denny’s Group

Let’s go to our artist:

Russel Garcia (12 April, 1916 – 19 November, 2011) attended at San Francisco State University and then studied composition (with Castelnuovo-Tedesco) before going to work as a professional arranger and composer. He worked with Horace Heidt and Al Donahue before settling in LA to work with a theatre orchestra. He then moved to studio work, first NBC radio and later with Warner Brothers, Disney, and others.

He freelanced around labels, working with singers such as Anita O’Day and Frances Faye as well as several mainstream jazz artists. He also wrote scores for films such as ‘The Time Machine’ and ‘Atlantis’ and contributed music to the television series ‘Rawhide’ and ‘The Virginian’. In the mid-’60s, he wrote several original works for Stan Kenton’s ‘Neophonic’ orchestra. He also published a book on arranging and orchestration that’s still considered a primary text. (!)

Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald & Russ Garcia
Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald & Russ Garcia (Porgy & Bess)

Let’s go to our album:

Fantastica remains the gold standard by which all outer space exotica records are judged, composed and conducted by Russ Garcia, the album is a marvel of sound and structure, brilliantly evoking the music of the cosmos via revolutionary studio techniques, cinematic arrangements, and innovative electronic elements!

Created in tandem with Liberty Records‘ chief engineer, Ted Keep, Fantastica bears little resemblance to conventional earthly music: alongside traditional instruments like woodwinds, harp, and percussion is a series of electronic devices and effects, including a sine wave generator that creates treble and bass tones of almost inhuman extremes. Conjuring horrific images of alien attack (The Monsters of Jupiter), natural disaster (Nova), and chilling isolation (The Lost Souls of Saturn) that articulate the collective unconsciousness of humankind, a true masterpiece!

The Maestro
The Maestro

The ‘IM’ Highlights are Venus and Frozen Neptune. (this is an exclusive rip)

Summing up, this is my Top 3 of the whole genre, an atemporal Lp, nothing appealing or stereotypical as some mentioned during our entry, startle yourself!

Приятно пътуване!

Tracks Include:

A1 Into Space

A2 Nova (Exploding Star)

A3 Lost Souls of Saturn

A4 Monsters of Jupiter

A5 Water Creatures of Astra

A6 Venus

B1 Red Sand of Mars

B2 Goofy People of Phobos

B3 Volcanoes of Mercury

B4 Birth of a Planet

B5 Frozen Neptune

B6 Moon Rise

Credits

  • Arranged, Composed: Russ Garcia
  • Artwork (Cover Design): Garrett-Howard
  • Effects, Electronics, Engineer: Ted Keep
  • Producer: Simon Jackson

Notes

Spectra-Sonic-Sound the ultimate in transistorized stereophonic hi-fidelity sound.

Liberty ‎– LST 7001

Jane Fonda’s Barbarella

Alice Coltrane W/ Strings – World Galaxy (1972)

capa cópiaToday’s record has a distinct imprint, something really powerful, different from everything that already appeared here. With a very suggestive name, i invite you all to enter in a spiritual journey led by the surpassing Alice Coltrane, namaste!

Let’s go to our history:

Born and raised in the religious family of Solon and Anne McLeod in Detroit, Michigan, Alice McLeod (August 27, 1937 – January 12, 2007) became interested in music and began her study of the piano at the age of 7. She consistently and diligently practiced and studied classical music. Subsequently, she enrolled in a more advanced study of the music of Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky.

Alice: ‘Classical music for me, was an extensive, technical study for many years. At that time, I discovered it to be a piece of truly profound music with a highly intellectual ambiance. The classical artist must respectfully recreate the composer’s meaning. Although, with jazz music, you are allowed to develop your own creativity, improvisation, and expression. This greatly inspires me.’ (!)

Heavenly Strings
Heavenly Strings

With a scholarship to the Detroit Institute of Technology, her musical achievements began to echo throughout the city, to the extent that she played in many music halls and churches, for various occasions as weddings, funerals, and religious programs. Her skills and abilities were highly enhanced when she began playing piano and organ for the (gospel) junior and senior choirs at her church.

But her brother, bassist Ernie Farrow, introduced her to jazz early on, and as a teen, she became quite taken with bop and its offshoots. In Detroit, she played piano on sessions with masters like guitarist Kenny Burrell and saxophonist Lucky Thompson. By the early 60’s she was sharing the bandstand with vibes player Terry Gibbs, it was on tour with Gibbs that she met saxophonist John Coltrane.

John & Alice
John & Alice

Their 1965 wedding was the start of a musical union as well. When she replaced pianist McCoy Tyner in the classic Coltrane Quartet there was hubbub in the jazz world. But John Coltrane’s music was unfolding further with every passing month, he had begun probing musical motifs and deep inspiration from the East.

When her husband died in 1967, Alice continued working with members of his last group, including Garrison, saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, and drummer Rashied Ali. She began playing the harp, utilizing sitar and tablas in the ensemble, and turning fully to Eastern cultures for inspiration. Spiritual and colorful, her music morphed into the soundtrack for prayer and meditative techniques. (!)

70's Alice
70’s Alice

Coltrane was a devotee of the Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba, and over the 70’s she established herself into the Vedantic Center, in California, changing his name to Turiya and evolving as a spiritual Hindu guru. Even releasing some albums through the 80’s and 90’s, she decided to diminished their public appearances, and following a 25-year break from major public performances, returning to the stage for three U.S. appearances in the fall of 2006, with a concert for the San Francisco Jazz Festival with her son Ravi, drummer Roy Haynes, and bassist Charlie Haden.

Alice Coltrane died of respiratory failure at West Hills Hospital in LA, aged 69. (RIP)

Alice & Swami Satchidananda
Alice & Swami Satchidananda

Let’s go to our record:

This big lush symphonic beauty must be heard over and over, with no distinction of tracks or highlights, Alice’s music creates his own wash of color and dynamic for the strings to fall like water from the sky into her mix, it shifts and change constantly as the rhythm section responds, in the prism of Coltrane’s textured harpistry.

This set may take some getting used to for some, but it’s easily one of the strongest records Alice Coltrane ever released, and one of the finest moments in 70’s jazz!

Prepare yourself and be ready for the voyage, चांगल्या ट्रिप!

Tracks Include:

A1 My Favorite Things (Rogers – Hammerstein)

A2 Galaxy Around Olodumare

A3 Galaxy In Turiya

B1 Galaxy In Satchidananda

B2 A Love Supreme (Coltrane)

All Galaxys composed by Alice Coltrane

Personnel

  • Alice Coltrane: percussion, piano, organ, harp, tamboura
  • Reggie Workman: bass
  • Ben Riley: drums
  • Elayne Jones: timpani
  • Frank Lowe: saxophone, percussion
  • Swami Satchidananda: voice
  • Leroy Jenkins: solo violin

The String Orchestra

  • David Sackson: concertmaster (all other members, strings)
  • Alan Shulman
  • Arthur Aaron
  • Avron Coleman
  • Edward Green
  • Harry Glickman
  • Henry Aaron
  • Irving Spice
  • Janet Hill
  • Joan Kalisch
  • Julien Barber
  • Ronald Lipscomb
  • Seymour Miroff
  • Thomas Nickerson
  • William Stone

Credits

  • Arranged, Orchestrated, Producer – Alice Coltrane
  • Cover, Design – Peter Max
  • Engineer (Assistant) – Dan Tuberville, Dennis Ferrante
  • Mixed By – Baker Bigsby
  • Mixed At – The Village Recorder (LA)
  • Narrator – Swami Satchidananda (tracks: B1, B2)
  • Photography By – Philip Melnick
  • Producer – Ed Michel
  • Recorded By – Tom Flye
  • Recorded At – Record Plant, NYC

Recorded November 15 and 16, 1971, at The Record Plant (NYC)

Impulse AS-9218

Alice's Lastly Portrait
Alice’s Lastly Portrait