Saturday, August 26, 2006

Axel Stordahl - The Magic Islands Revisited

Swanky mentioned Axel Stordahl as a fave of his so here's one I ripped a while back. Its mostly mid-tempo orchestrated hapa haole (with the emphasis on haole) but there are three or four bona fide exotica tracks, like the first track which is classic exotica. Lousy of me not to clean up the cover but hey, I ain't charging for it.

The Magic Islands Revisited

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Cannonball Adderley - Soul Zodiac

Now this is a GREAT album. No, it's not exotica, nor is it Hawaiian or tropical. It really has nothing to do with the general theme of this blog but its just an awesome listen.

Some of the stuff I post here is admittedly mediocre. I'm digitizing my LP collection and when I come across something that's just OK but fits here (like the Hawaiian Holiday album below) I post it even though its not going to knock the socks off of anyone. I figure someone might enjoy it.

This album is by no means mediocre.

One of my favorite genres of music is that style of experimental/avant garde jazz that was primarily released from the mid-60s to mid-70s. Later Coltrane, Ayler, Shepp, Sun Ra, Ornette, Pharoah, ESP-Disk etc. The tags "experimental" or "avant garde" may not appeal to you but that's just what I think of it as. I don't care for the label "free jazz" as only a small portion of it could accurately be described as truly "free."

Anyway, this is a classic from that era. Thirteen tracks from Cannonball Adderley with the Nat Adderley Sextet featuring LA DJ Rick Holmes narrating. Released in 1972. Listen, I didn't take any music classes in school so I can't talk about "modal" this or "dissonant" that, but I do know that this music sounds like a less-meditative and more genre-jumping Sun Ra Orchestra backing the soulful funky narration of Mr Holmes describing the attributes of the various signs of the Zodiac.

The first track is an intro followed by 12 more tracks for each of the signs. I don't know who the hell is a Taurus that the group felt the need to spend 14 minutes of rock/blues/space/jazz jam on that particular zodiac sign to end this album. Probably a woman.

Like me, Cannonball is a Virgo.

Did Rick Holmes' reading of your sign have any ring of truth with you?

This one is a real pleasure to share. Great music, clean LP, good rip. It is a MUST HAVE.

It's a double LP so the file is close to 100mb.

Jazz Zodiac Godhead.

Featured Drink - Dragon Lady

I sometimes dabble in creating my own concoctions and this is one of them. The drink usually fills the glass to the rim but I drank a little bit before I thought to take a pic.

Dragon Lady

1 oz vodka
1 oz sake
.75 oz ginger brandy
.5 oz falernum*
.5oz passion fruit syrup
1 oz grapefruit juice
.5 oz fresh lemon juice

Blend with 10 oz shaved ice and then pour into pilsener glass.

I'm not too much "into" garnishes so I just threw a cherry on top but if you can think of a better garnish let me know.

John Taylor's Velvet Falernum liqueur is my preference but the Fees Bros falernum syrup works well also.

Feedback appreciated.

Alfred Apaka - Aloha, Apaka!

Alfred Apaka with Orchestra directed by Axel Stordahl and the Hawaiian Village Serenaders.

I read somewhere that if Don Ho was the Elvis of Hawaii then Alfred Apaka was the Bing Crosby of Hawaii. I have absolutely no idea what that means.

I was just reading his bio on and it says: "Although many predicted that he would become a successful mainstream vocalist, Apaka took a different route when he convinced multimillionaire Henry Kaiser to build a hotel, The Hawaiian Village, that included a showroom where he starred in his own extravagant revue. Apaka's energetic performances soon made the hotel an essential tourist attraction, and his popularity continued to grow."

So Alfred got Henry Kaiser to build The Hawaiian Village resort (which later became the Hilton Hawaiian Village) that featured a showroom in which Alfred performed and in which Rene Paulo and his group recorded "Beyond Happiness" (third post below this one) a couple of years after Mr Apaka passed away of a heart attack at the young age of 41. Now that's a little bit of blogging synchronicity. I'd wager that Rene Paulo became the feature act after Alfred passed on.

Ther first couple of tracks have a little excess surface noise but it gets better after that.

Aloha, Apaka!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Thurston Knudson - Primitive Percussion

This one is a must have for the exotica collector even though it's not an exotica album per se. No bird calls or other-worldly female vocals on this one, just percussion. Nothing but percussion. You wouldn't want to just plop this one on and play it through unless you're trying to lure woodpeckers into your den (and hey, if you are, I'm cool with that). These tracks do, however, make for some great change-ups on your exotica mixes.

This recording is about halfway between an ethnographic field study and a percussion based exotica album. Traditional African drum pieces led and directed by a white guy (I'm taking a stab in the dark that Thurston Knudson is not African) are what you're getting here. So enjoy it for what it is...trad African music seen through the eyes of a European or American. If thats not exotica then what is?

To further cement the tiki/exotica connection (from the liner notes): "NOTE: The giant hardwood log used in four of these selections was borrowed from the exotic milieu of the word-famous Don the Beachcomber Restaurant in Hollywood."

African Jungle Drums

Hawaiian Holiday

This is the 1,987th LP released with the title "Hawaiian Holiday." This one came out in 1980 and has absolutely zero info as to who the musicians are on these tracks. I'd tell you the name of the label but then I'd have to kill you.

Not an exceptional album, but it is a very solid if somewhat generic collection of sixteen hapa haole instrumentals. I doubt if any of the Hawaii Calls "Favorite Instrumentals" LPs are much, if any, better than this one. Perfect for your office party luau!


Rene Paulo - Beyond Happiness

Hey, I found a Rene Paulo LP! Beyond Happiness is a very slow, mellow drowsy recording of piano music. The backing bass, guitar and drums are WAAAY in the background. I'll be honest, this one doesn't do too much for me. Its kinda like Liberace on ludes.

This was recorded at the Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki and does include some Hawaiian faves (Akaka Falls and Ke Kali Nei Au (Hawaiian Wedding Song)) but I'm sure Rene was playing in the hoity toity room with all the guests in dinner jackets and evening gowns. If I were there (and I was there, but 40 years later), I would've been hanging out at one of the outside bars with the hula dancers and fire drummers and the uke players and hopefully drinking the handiworks of their legendary bartender Harry Yee.

Somber piano tunes.