(Universe) 13 tracks - The original 1952 'Capitol' LP album plus one
bonus track - Different cover artwork - Pressed on 180g Virgin Vinyl
leader Les Baxter has been called the father of exotica and, more
generally, of mood music. His music was a tremendous influence on Sun
Ra, his fellow Hollywood music makers, and the countless others who
discovered something magical beyond the cheesy album packaging. A
good-natured Texan who travelled the world and cultivated Brasilian
percussion particularly, Baxter led small units, big bands, and
distinctive, full orchestras with chorus.
A graduate of the
Detroit Conservatory of Music, Baxter earned a scholarship to Pepperdine
and from there started out as an arranger. Also he performed on
saxophone, piano, and woodwinds (as well as a singer, at least later).
His first albums revived use of the theremin for the modern recording
era and made a profound impression on 'space' musician Sun Ra. Another
early album was Le Sacre du Sauvage (Ritual of the Savage), his most
important work. In addition to the early albums (released as 78 sets,
EPs, and LPs) were odd singles such as 'My Name is God', 'Flute Salad,', and 'The Left Arm of Buddha'.
of the Savage is quintessential Les
Baxter and the definitive 'exotica' album. A beautiful 'tone poem' or
concept album, it established a new musical idiom and Les Baxter as its
chief exponent. The evocative, imaginative Ritual provided both 'the
book' of classic exotica tunes and the single greatest hit of exotica,
'Quiet Village' which is based on a classic Brasilian rhythm.
Subsequent albums focused on various parts of the world and met
varying degrees of success. The experiments with smaller units and
original music (African Jazz and Skins) are far more interesting than
the ubiquitous orchestral albums of arranged standards. Through his
extensive work backing Hollywood films and singers such as Dick Beavers,
eventually he left his mark on everything from biker rock to folk.
Throughout his career he returned to exotica in one way or another, and
late in his career he even returned to the theremin and space music
(Dunwich Horror and Neil Norman albums).
sensationalism but had an uneasy relationship with rock. And he has been
accused of using too many strings. But his talent for composition and
love of Brasilian percussion were singular. After writing the first,
most important charts in pop exotica, he charted new territory in
soundtracks and albums of his own. A musical "great white hunter" and
cog sadly lost in the Hollywood machine, Les Baxter left an essential
legacy of great music.Buying: The soundtrack, space, exotica, mod, and
percussion albums are the most desirable. Most of the rest is
easy-listening mush. Look for his name as composer on other artists'
albums, and pick up the Sounds of Adventure compilation for its gatefold
Article properties: Les Baxter: Ritual Of The Savage (LP, 180g Vinyl)
Leslie Baxter With Vocal Group And Orchestra – Lunar Rhapsody
Something truly unusual comes from the late forties when the flying saucer craze started. Conductor and arranger Leslie Baxter, better known as Les Baxter, created these space sounds together with Harry Revel (also the composer) and Dr. Samuel J. Hoffman, who played the theremin. Theremin was one of the first electronic instruments, invented in 1920, and was obviously used here for the creation of science fiction sounds from outer space. It was first issued in 1947 on Capitol CC-47, a three 78rpm album set called 'Music Out Of The Moon: Music Unusual Featuring The Theremin – Themes By Harry Revel.' Capitol reissued this set in 1950 on one 10-inch 33 rpm vinyl disc as Capitol H-2000 with a different cover picture. The original issue had a risqué photograph of partially clothed actress Virginia Clark, done by Paul Garrison. A tape recording of the album tracks was made in 1969 by Hollywood producer Mickey Kapp for Neil Armstrong, who brought it on the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. .’