Exotica

Jazz music community with reviews, MP3 (free download/stream) and forums

Exotica can range from silly kitsch novelty records for 'swingin bachelor pads' to more serious experimental blends of jazz, Latin rhythms, studio technology and modern orchestration. The JMA exotica genre excludes the former but welcomes the latter. Good examples of the more artistic practitioners of the Exotica genre include Martin Denny and Les Baxter. Both Denny and Baxter were accomplished jazz musicians who also drew on a wealth of other musical influences including French impressionistic composers, Afro-Cuban jazz and Polynesian percussion to create highly original and creative musical landscapes.

Other jazz influenced artists that might be found in the Exotica genre include: artists who record creative versions of well known pop songs, artists who juxtapose in-congruent styles in an ironic fashion, artists who have an anachronistic presentation and musical style, and artists who create unique recordings that do not fit easily into any standard genre.

exotica top albums

Showing only albums and live's | Based on members ratings & JMA custom algorithm

MARTIN DENNY Exotica Album Cover Exotica
MARTIN DENNY
4.94 | 5 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
HERB ALPERT Whipped Cream & Other Delights Album Cover Whipped Cream & Other Delights
HERB ALPERT
4.93 | 3 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
JANKO NILOVIC Rythmes Contemporains Album Cover Rythmes Contemporains
JANKO NILOVIC
4.98 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
GABOR SZABO Belsta River Album Cover Belsta River
GABOR SZABO
4.95 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
MARTIN DENNY Primitiva Album Cover Primitiva
MARTIN DENNY
4.95 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
MARTIN DENNY Another Taste of Honey Album Cover Another Taste of Honey
MARTIN DENNY
4.95 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
MARTIN DENNY A Taste of India Album Cover A Taste of India
MARTIN DENNY
4.90 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
MARTIN DENNY A Taste of Honey Album Cover A Taste of Honey
MARTIN DENNY
4.90 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
FRANKIE LAINE Hell Bent For Leather Album Cover Hell Bent For Leather
FRANKIE LAINE
4.90 | 2 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
ANANDA SHANKAR Ananda Shankar Album Cover Ananda Shankar
ANANDA SHANKAR
4.71 | 4 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
LALO SCHIFRIN There's a Whole Lalo Schifrin Goin' On (aka Experience) Album Cover There's a Whole Lalo Schifrin Goin' On (aka Experience)
LALO SCHIFRIN
5.00 | 1 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
DAZIE MAE Dazie Mae Album Cover Dazie Mae
DAZIE MAE
5.00 | 1 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy JMA!

New exotica free MP3/Stream

exotica online videos

exotica New Releases

.. Album Cover
Far Away Lands The Exotic Music of Gene Rains
Boxset / Compilation
GENE RAINS
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Clubbin' With Grandpa
Album
POSTMODERN JUKEBOX
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Twist is the New Twerk
Album
POSTMODERN JUKEBOX
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Borderline
Album
BRIAN CHARETTE
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Looking for Lazlo
Album
RORY MORE
Buy this album from MMA partners

exotica Music Reviews

BO HANSSON Mellanväsen (aka Attic Thoughts)

Album · 1975 · Exotica
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
Because he scored a cult hit early in his career with an album of music “inspired by The Lord of the Rings”, Bo Hanson has always been lumped in with the art rock crowd, which is unfortunate because the people who would probably appreciate his music more are fans of incidental music, soundtracks, adverts and things like that. "Mellanvasm" aka “Attic Thoughts”, like Hanson’s other albums, consists of short instrumentals on which he plays most of the instruments via multi-tracking creating a very personal sound. As mentioned earlier, soundtrack music makes for a good reference to Hanson’s sound, you could also include the exotic pop instrumentals of Brian Wilson and George Martin. Some cuts also recall 60s lounge pop-jazz, the sort of sound that had a revival during the initial acid jazz phase.

Hanson creates his personal sound stories using a plethora of analog keyboards (as well as guitars etc) making this album a good one for those who enjoy the sound of 70s instrumental keyboard based exotic albums such as Augustas Pablo’s “East of the River Nile’ or Les McCann’s "Layers". I have heard Hanson’s music used in acid jazz mixes, so there are some out there who recognize where Hanson’s music might find a good fit. Hopefully more soundtrack and exotica fans will discover this unique and 'charming' music.

RAYMOND SCOTT The Music of Raymond Scott: Reckless Nights and Turkish Twilights

Boxset / Compilation · 1992 · Exotica
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
RAYMOND SCOTT is known as the man who made cartoons swing and although he is hardly a household name, his music has most likely been heard by everyone in one form or another. This compilation RECKLESS NIGHTS AND TURKISH TWILIGHTS showcases the earliest stage of his career when he lead his band the RAYMOND SCOTT QUINTETTE. It is this period where he composed some of his biggest hits which proved to be big sellers in their time and immortalized forever after he sold his music publishing to Warner Bros in 1943. The music director Carl Stalling would then adapt his music to the extensive Loonie Tunes catalog. Over the years his unique brand of exotic jazz has become a staple for that cartoony feel and his music has found its way into the likes of The Simpsons, Ren And Stimpy, The Oblongs, Batfink and Duckman as well as the never-ending reboots of Looney Tunes cartoons themselves. All the compositions on this compilation were recorded from 1937 to 1940.

RAYMOND SCOTT's intent was to lead his Quintette in order to revitalize the swing in jazz music. He was unorthodox in his approach and irritated many a jazz purist for his disregard of what was thought to be “proper” jazz. His compositions are energetic, busy and complex yet always catchy and although improvisation went into the creation of his music, once finished, the music remained exactly as completed. SCOTT had an affinity for incorporating classical music into his mix as well. No other track is this as obvious as his version of Mozart's “Rondo Alla Turca” which finds itself adapted into a jazz context and titled “In An 18th Century Drawing Room.” Another attribute that set SCOTT apart from most other jazz musicians of the day was the fact that although he was the leader of the band, he rarely took the limelight of performing solos himself and left that to the other members of the band. SCOTT was a pianist and the focus is mostly directed on the brass.

To my ears, RAYMOND SCOTT's music has many diverse influences ranging from the classic dixieland jazz, to the early piano jazz of Art Tatum with other sounds being borrowed from Western classical music, Klezmer and Middle Eastern music. The brilliance is in how well it is woven together seamlessly into a cohesive whole and despite the complexities of the music always comes across as a gleeful sonic stomp throughout imaginary lands which lends itself perfectly to the cartoon world in which it has been used the most. This cartoon swing sound in the RAYMOND SCOTT QUINTETTE would not persist though as in the beginning of the 40s he would take on new projects including collaborating with Les Paul and Mary Ford to record pop songs and would eventually take on the entirely different musical world of electronic music in its infancy.

The true legacy of SCOTT won't be from the scant few recordings that he would release but from the influence he laid down leading to a wealth of samplings, reinterpretations and covers finding its way into the disparate artistic arenas of film, television, theater and countless different musical genres. For example, samples can be found on albums by the trip hop group Gorillaz, the progressive rock band Rush, hip hop acts such as J Dilla, indie rock acts such as TV On The Radio and even in ska by the the band Save Ferris. A truly underrated jazz icon who may not have found the biggest success under his own name but achieved it in a rather strange roundabout under-the-radar way. On this compilation you can hear his own version of his own music as originally released.

KORLA PANDIT The Universal Language Of Music, Volume 1

Album · 1954 · Exotica
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
js
Our review today involves a talented young African-American jazz pianist from the US south who decided to boost his fledgling career by fabricating for himself a far away exotic birthplace, and an equally exotic new name and attire to go with that alleged birthplace. Now you may be thinking this must be Sonny Blount aka Sun Ra, but instead it is the lesser known John Roland Redd, otherwise known as Korla Pandit from ‘New Delhi‘. Redd was a promising young piano player who was actually from Hannibal Missouri before he decided to move to Los Angelas, first re-naming himself Juan Rolando, and then settling on becoming Korla Pandit, an ‘Indian’ man complete with jeweled turban and all. In the early 50s, Pandit would appear on TV in LA playing a mix of classical excerpts, jazz standards and exotic originals on the Hammond organ while staring directly at the camera without saying a word. For the US in the early 50s, this was unique to say the least. Some credit Pandit with being the creator of the strange genre that became known as exotica and certainly his records, along with the first records by Les Baxter, are some of the earliest recordings in this style.

“The Universal Language of Music Volume 1” is typical of an early Pandit record as it contains some classical excerpts (Clare de Lune" etc), a couple standards ("Somewhere Over the Rainbow" etc) and a few supposed “Indian” tunes composed by Pandit. The alleged Indian tunes don’t sound much like music from India, but more like cheezy belly dancing music from a 50s LA nightclub. Korla often accompanies these exotic melodies by playing the lower keyboard on the Hammond with an open palm producing a sort of electronic bongo drum beat. No matter what Pandit plays, he provides the sort of melodramatic swoops and swells that were common to lounge organ players during that time period. In between the tunes, an unidentified dramatic voice recites corny poetry and trite stories that pre-date new age snake oil 'gurus'.

Getting back to our Sun Ra comparison, I would not be surprised if Sonny pulled some influence from Pandit. For example, on the track “Stormy Weather”, Korla precedes the tune with his idea of a chaotic storm on the keyboard with lots swelling dissonant chords, its avant-garde music gone dramatically cornball and its just humorously excessive enough to sound like Ra himself.

I am sure you have already determined that this record is not for everyone, even some exotica fans may be disappointed in the murky recorded sound, but to some collectors of odd music, that murky sound can only add to this record’s strange appeal. No doubt Pandit’s playing is not a joke, he was an extremely talented performer who could have played whatever he wanted, he’s just one of those quirky individuals who took the path less traveled.

GABOR SZABO 1969

Album · 1969 · Exotica
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
Having left the Impulse! label, Szabo signed for the more obscure Blue Thumb label to release a fairly uninteresting string of albums, including the present 1969, which you guessed it, was released that very same year. Despite the exuberant turning of the decade era, Gabor seemed to miss out on the power and demented freedom of the times. Despite a promising almost-Folon inner sleeve artwork, it seems that the west-coast soft-jazz spirit had overwhelmed him, and musicians like bassist Kabok and drummer Keltner seemed to dominate the potential power of the organ, played by Melvoin.

Yes, we’re definitely in a west-coast jazz, not too far from what the CTI label would make its bread and bitter in the following years. Little wonder that Gabor would also release albums for that label a few years later. But for the present, we’re dealing with low-energy jazz-pop, sometimes reminiscent of rearranged Beatles tunes (doh!!!) that would fit supermarket or elevator background music. The only time the album comes alive, is in the album-closing raga-esque and aptly-titled Somewhere I Belong. Indeed Gabor, too bad it took you a whole album to return to your natural grounds. A real snoozefest and IMHO, best avoided, though its main merit is that it won’t irritate more your eardrums than your discernment.

GABOR SZABO Jazz Raga

Album · 1966 · Exotica
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Sean Trane
It was inevitable that such a wide-ranging and far-reaching artiste like Szabo would eventually record for that awesome Impulse! label and Jazz Raga fits somewhat in with the world tendencies of the label. Indeed, JR is one of the best examples of Indo-jazz fusion alongside the London-scene stalwarts Amancio D’Silva and John Mayer. Out of the 11 tracks, five are recorded in a trio format, and the rest are in an expanded quintet with a second guitarist (to free up Gabor on sitar) and a tabla player. For the most part, the quintet tracks are concentrated on the A-side, while the trio tracks are the majority of the flipside.

All but three tracks were Szabo compositions, but it’s rather clear that the three covers would pull a lot of attention. Indeed, past an anecdotic (despite the quintet) Paint It Black, Duke’s Caravan and Gerschwin’s Summertime, the former receiving stupendous (then-) modern trio arrangements, the latter being more surprising with its sitar intervention. OK, now that we got that out of the way, let’s look at the meat of the album.

The opening Walking On Nails reflects a gentle-almost Beatles-like melody over a psychey sitar & drums and filtered vocals. Mizrab (named after the tabla player’s Indian moniker) is much more credible in terms of Indo-jazz fusion, precisely because of the tabla percussions. The Nirvana piece is an amazing upbeat guitar and sitar piece that will drive you bonkers, while Krishna will give you a happy serenity. After the delicate Raga Doll, Coming Back has a quasi rockabilly feel, which announces that Rolling Stones cover. Even wilder and more energetic, Sophisticated Wheels oozes more of a raga rock than a raga jazz.

Definitely one of Gabor’s best album in the 60’s and a milestone in the Indo-jazz fusion genre, Jazz Raga is not a typical Impulse! label product, and yet it’s a minor classic, even though its rock aura already announces the jazz-rock that will overtake the jazz world by the turn of the decade.

exotica movie reviews

No exotica movie reviews posted yet.

Artists with Exotica release(s)

JMA TOP 5 Jazz ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Kind of Blue Cool Jazz
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
A Love Supreme Post Bop
JOHN COLTRANE
Buy this album from our partners
The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady Post Bop
CHARLES MINGUS
Buy this album from our partners
In a Silent Way Classic Fusion
MILES DAVIS
Buy this album from our partners
'Out to Lunch!' Avant-Garde Jazz
ERIC DOLPHY
Buy this album from our partners

New Jazz Artists

New Jazz Releases

Travelogue Classic Fusion
TODD BISHOP
Buy this album from MMA partners
Spezial Snack Avant-Garde Jazz
ÉMILE PARISIEN
Buy this album from MMA partners
Closed Attractions Jazz Related Rock
BUCKETHEAD
Buy this album from MMA partners
Leave the Light On Jazz Related Rock
BUCKETHEAD
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Free Jazz MP3 download/stream

New Jazz Online Videos

Gimme one of those
THE BRAND NEW HEAVIES
js· 9 hours ago
Gebhard Ullmann - Almost Twenty-Eight
GEBHARD ULLMANN
js· 18 hours ago
Carlo Actis Dato Quartet - "Oppression"
CARLO ACTIS DATO
js· 1 day ago
More videos

New JMA Jazz Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Jazz News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Share this site
Follow us