Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday Night Vinyl - Les Baxter Caribbean Moonlight

In this album arranger-conductor Les Baxter expresses the soft moods of the islands at night. The music suggests impressions rather than photographs. It evokes images of moonlit jungles and wave-washed beaches, of gardens sending the heady fragrance of orchids and bougainvillea into the night air.

Capital Records - 1956
Yeah, it is all that, what's said on the liner notes above, but I also see Robert Mitchum making out with Jane Greer on a moonlit beach in Mexico too. Okay, I'm a big fan of Out of the Past, so that's an easy one. Mostly, Les Baxter's Caribbean Moonlight is one of my top favorite records to put on during the early hours of a cocktail party or when I just feel like chilling alone. Arizona is a long way from any Caribbean moonlight but this record is a cool substitute. It's one of those records that glides through multiple listens without a hitch, that's the perfect backdrop for the tinkling of melting ice in a cold highball, or just cool listening to lush Exotica at its best.

I came by this album through a member of the family that was getting rid of their records. I really liked the cover and took it along with some other records that I don't play near as much as this one. It was also one of the first albums in the Exotica genre to join my mostly not so great 70s and 80s hard rock records - the ones I hide from public view. It was about time that something came along to class my collection up a bit! Since then I've gathered some nice additions, but Caribbean Moonlight still holds a top tier in my faves. Linked here is "Taboo" (Margarita Lecuona - Bob Russell) the first cut from the album.

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