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on 13 September 2009
Martin Denny (1911-2005) was a pianist/bandleader who pioneered the "Exotica" style of lounge music. His big hit was "Quiet Village" (1959)and this double album is an excellent sampling of the genre. Apparently he stumbled upon his trademark sound by accident when bullfrogs started croaking as he and his band were playing. His band members copied the "bullfrog" sound and added others of their own, to great audience appreciation.

This isn't to say that Denny's sound was all "gimmick" - he was an accomplished musician, widely travelled and an avid collector of exotic instruments, which fitted in neatly with his niche style.

The vibes were featured heavily on his records, originally by Arthur Lyman, who went on to stardom in his own right - he and Denny became friendly rivals, having originally met and developed the "exotica" style together in Hawaii.

The birdcalls and frog noises do get a wee bit samey after a while but there are enough tasteful instrumental tracks on this album to balance it out. The piano/vibes combination reminds me of some of the things that George Shearing made popular at the time.

The download version is great value. Excellent background music to soothe the nerves whilst stuck on the M25.
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on 10 February 2013
Not a great deal to say, you either like this style or not, but if you do, then this is a real treat! It's unusual to find an album where every track is a gem, but this one hits the spot! Enjoy
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on 25 June 2004
A great introduction to Martin Denny's work and to 50's 'exotica' if you haven't heard it before. Denny uses a small group with a large amount of percussion and 'ethnic' instruments along with bird and nature calls to produce his music. Listen and transport yourself somewhere else.
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