(Reads title.) You do? Good for you, but don’t you think you could have come up with something more, I don’t know, jazzy for the title of this 1955 comp? Titles rarely deter from the music within, and this is no exception. I just had to chuckle at how on-the-nose and unorthodox this title was, while at the same time, and rather quickly, adding it to my hefty pile of dollar bin treasures. One doesn’t go wrong with mid-century Columbia Records jazz artists.
I didn’t find this album to exactly portray its title, but I was nearly 25 years away from the release of Otto Cesana & His Orchestra’s 1955 Ecstasy, so really, what the hell do I know? Sounding immediately like a heavily orchestrated series of montage scenes for mid-century silver screens, this easy-listening-mood-setter is actually a comp comprised of two 10″ records titled Ecstasy, and Sugar and Spice. If you’re looking for a wistful, easily ignorable bed of hopeful mood music, consider a bit of Ecstasy.
I should have started with cleaning this very dingy, 60+ year-old 10″ of classic, mid-century Jazz greats featured, and showcased by the late, great Stan Kenton (and His Orchestra). I think track one alone, Art Pepper featuring Art Pepper on alto sax, must have skipped a total of six times. My fault for not following the rules: Step 1) Clean. Step 2) Enjoy. Anyway, simply titled Stan Kenton Presents, this little 10″ is getting a duplicate if I can’t clean the 60 years off ‘er, because this is an essential listen, in unskippable form. Another $1 find, kids!
Latin, jazz, pop, space-age, and easy listening are just a few terms to describe Les Baxter and His Chorus and Orchestra’s 1955 classic, Tamboo!. If songs like Cuchibamba, Zambezi, Mozambique, and Oasis of Dakhla aren’t enough for you, the mid-century exotic cover should do the trick. A deal at $2.99, a steal as a free gift. Thanks, choch.
Ladies and gentlemen, Knuckles O’Toole is a pseudonym used by Dick Hyman. Didn’t know that until today. Apparently several artists used this pseudonym to release ragtime records from the 50s through the 70s. Mr. Hyman recording only two albums under this alias, and I’m trying to figure out specifically which two O’Toole albums they are. I’m about 60% this is one of them, but what the hell do I know? Ragtime piano isn’t (necessarily) my go-to, but it is a pleasant vacation from time to time.
Meet Andre Kostelanetz is a fascinating compilation of easy listening classical jazz from 1955. Made up of a handpicked selection of Kostelanetz’s earlier Columbia Records recordings, Meet Andre Kostelanetz features, among others, cuts from Carmen, The Nutcracker Suite, and classic Gershwin, while beautifully offering hi-res (albeit small), full color images of his previous Columbia Records releases. A great companion for early evening ambient noise while prepping for dinner or cleaning out the fishtank, Meet Andre Kostelanetz is a perfect introduction to this brilliant and hard working Russian conductor.