A really nice gently tropical instrumental with strings and a rock (drums/guitars) backing. I seem to be in a minority in adoring Les's 'Que Mango' album (which apparently was originally sold only in supermarkets at $1.99). I actually listen to this album as much as I listen to his classic exotic jazz LPs from the late 50s. It contains lots of great, shimmering, groovy tracks, such as 'boca chica', and the superb 'tropicando', which you can now hear almost everywhere (via a TV ad, and the aptly named 'Thievery Corporation'). Record geek part: on the vinyl version of this I have, the track 'Jungle Montuno' is shorter and sweeter - it begins one minute into the CD version of the track. I'm just mentioning this because the first minute seems to me to be inferior, and from a different song.
This wild track from Les Baxter's superb 'Jungle Jazz' album wouldn't be out of place in a David Lynch movie. In fact, it sounds very like some of the work Angelo Badalamenti did for the 1992 movie 'Fire (walk with me)'. It's really wickedly over the top, with a walking bass, wailing horns, and some incredible tenor saxophone work from legendary session player Plas Johnson. The overall effect is cinematic and disturbing.
from Jungle Jazz (Capitol) available on CD - The Exotic Moods of Les Baxter (Capitol)
When you consider just how wonderful it is, Les Baxter's 'exotic' work is under-represented on this site. From a superb and reasonably easy-to-find album, this cut is an intoxicating mix of shimmering 50s style strings and gentle bongo rhythms.
'Nightingale' is a Xavier Cugat original that is very much in the style of classic Lecuona songs like 'Taboo'. Melodically, it also reminds me of another standard, 'Invitation'.
from Carribean Moonlight (Capitol T-733) available on CD - The Exotic Moods of Les Baxter (Capitol)
This is one of Baxters best songs, although there are many incredible Les Baxter pieces, this one really stands out from the rest. The title 'Sunken City' is perfect, you really feel like you are floating in the bright blue ocean, searching for a lost city. The instruments Baxter chose for this song are interesting; oboes, a haunting choir along with some vibraphones and piano chords, the result is however amazing.
Listen to this song late at night with the lights dimmed.
from Jewels of the Sea (Capitol) available on CD - Exotic Moods of Les Baxter
As Delicado said in one of his track recommendations: "Les Baxter's work is under-represented on this site". To try and change that here's a recommendation of another of my favourite Baxter songs.
Get in your space-ship and get ready for your first space cocktail. The mood of this song truly represents the 'Space-Age' everybody was anticipating in the late '50s and early '60s. We've got a happy fast paced beat, with bright strings, pianos, vibraphones, flutes and what not. Not that unfamiliar to the KPM library music from the '50s. I can't stop listening to this song, I only wish it was a bit longer.
from Space Escapade (Capitol Records) available on CD - Ultra-Lounge Volume 8: Cocktail Capers