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Paradise Found - The Exotic Sounds Of Martin Denny

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Album Review

Nominally, this represents Martin Denny's attempt to evoke the ambience of the African continent, after having done the same for the South Pacific via a series of early albums. Denny does use marimba, vibes, bongos, congas, and timbales — not to mention sound effects of a buzzing tsetse fly and the rain forest. But the result is even less genuinely African (to the "nth" degree) than, say, Paul Simon's Graceland. Not to mention that the Randy Van Horne Singers, who contribute backing vocals (as they did for the Flinstones and Jetsons cartoons), were probably about as authentically African as a Disneyland voodoo doll. Denny never pretended to offer a genuinely ethnic experience, though. This is, despite any impressions generated by the title, more exotica music, pure and simple. There isn't much Denny on CD, but almost everyone will be content to pick up the Rhino best-of (which admittedly only duplicates a few cuts from Afro-Desia) and leave it at that.


Born: 05 April 1911 in New York, NY

Genre: World

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

In the mid-'50s, composer and pianist Martin Denny combined lounge jazz, Hawaiian music, Latin rhythms, bird calls, and then-exotic ethnic instruments like, koto, gamelans, and Burmese temple bells into the sound known as exotica. Although the craze was short-lived, Denny recorded several popular instrumental albums and hit number four in 1959 with "Quiet Village," one of the most unusual top ten singles of all time. Born on the mainland, Denny drew upon his worldwide experiences as a touring musician...
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Paradise Found - The Exotic Sounds Of Martin Denny, Martin Denny
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