Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Exotic Sounds-Very Best (Reis)
Genres: World Music, Pop, Rock
The best best-of compilation of Martin Denny's music
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 03/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc predates Rhino's Denny compilation by nearly a year, and outperforms it in just about all dimensions but price and availability. For your money, though, you get an incredible collection of *28* musical tracks and a bonus Martin Denny stage intro, all clocking in at 73'4" of Exotica. Happily the overlap with the Rhino issue is minimal.Although Rhino's insert booklet features more background info on Denny and his combo, this EMI release includes a folded insert sheet, mostly in Japanese, that includes an excellent Exotica discography. Besides the 39 LP entries for Denny, there are 34 entries for early Denny combo vibemaster Arthur Lyman. Also included is a short list of some of Les Baxter's exotica-oriented recordings, and a list of discs produced by Denny. Though there are a few missing entries (notably Exotica covergirl Sandy Warner's solo) the list of additional records "for you pleasure musical enjoyment" is *excellent*, including discs from Hawaii Calls, Warren Barker, Cal Tjader and YMO, to name just a few. The insert also includes black & white miniature reproductions of 18 of Denny's albums. The cover of the insert is a beautiful color reproduction of the first Exotica album cover (with a little editing on the lettering to retitle the album).The CD's compiler, Yann Tomita, has done a good job of picking tracks, though many of my favorites are missing. This best-of covers more time than the Rhino issue. The disc begins with Denny's signature version of Les Baxter's "Quiet Village" and moves through most of Denny's 13-LP Exotica catalog, including tracks from later LP's (ignored on the Rhino compilation) such as "Exotic Percussion" (my favorite Denny LP and track, "Moonlight and Shadows") and the extremely rare "Exotic Moog" (featuring the Moog version of "Quiet Village"). Also included is some of Denny's later, uhm, less exotic material such as the cover of "Sukiyaki." Tomita has included a good slice of Denny's career, giving emphasis to the Exotic, percussive material, but also including a sprinkling of the more traditionally piano-based pieces, Denny's later experiments with strings, and so on.Soundwise... the lead off version of "Quiet Village" is missing a bit of the high-end, some of Denny's heavier piano pounding (big blocky chords ala Brubek) gets a little indistinct, and there's a little harsh edge on some of the louder vibraphone passages, but for the most part these tracks have their cymbals and birdcalls rendered clearly. The delicacy of the various temple bells and chimes is surprisingly well preserved on the mid-to-late 50's master tapes they must have used. The drum work, too, has a nice sound to it, in all its various forms (i.e., African, South American, etc). Harvey Ragsdale's bass also comes through the transfer quite nicely.For those simply wishing a taste of Exotica, the Rhino issue is probably the better choice, due to it's lower price and wider availability, but for the Denny fanatic, this is a must-have item.Now, anyone want to translate the Japanese language insert for me?"
Martin Denny's exotica music is cool and timeless
C. Castro | 05/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Martin Denny and his group made great music, and all their albums were very cool. I rate all their albums with 5 stars. My uncle Harvey Ragsdale was Martin Denny's friend and bass player on many of Martin Denny's albums. My family and I have always been and are very proud of that. I think the albums range from the period of the 50s and the 60s. I was born in 1962, so I never had the chance to meet Martin Denny, but my mother, Harvey Ragsdale's sister, knew Martin Denny, and said not only was he a wonderful musician, and band leader, but he was a wonderful person as well."