The Exotic Sounds of Martin Denny

When I first met and heard Martin Denny and his group at the Interlude in Hollywood, May 1958, we were not strangers to one another; that is, not musically. I was aware of Denny's talents through his performance of many of my compositions in his "Exotica" Volumes One and Two and the exciting "Forbidden Island".

I was not only impressed by the success of his albums, but also by his group's interpretation of highly descriptive musical moods. His ability to extract the essence of a large work and express it vividly with a small group indicates tremendous skill and versatility.

The selections in this series cover a wide range. From Africa to Burma, from Peru to Trinidad or Hawaii, the rhythms and sound effects are produced by a host of instruments as unique as the lands from which they come . . . Buddhist prayer bells from Japan, a two-hundred pound carved rhythm log from the jungles of New Guinea, weird-sounding gongs, chime effects, percussion instruments from India, Africa, Japan and Hawaii and the beautiful harp effect of a Japanese Koto. Denny has obtained many of his unusual sounds simply by using children's toy bells bought in a "Five and Dime" store.

Watching them perform is a treat to the eye as well as the ear because of the excitement expressed in their ballet of motion. This group is carving a new niche in the musical field with their fascinating "Exotica" sounds.

A quotation from one of Martin Denny's fanmail letters sums up the impact of his creations: "It isn't simply listening to music, it is music we can actually feel, as your music to us isn't just instruments responding to musicians, but is the very soul of the musician expressing himself."
Notes by Les Baxter

  • Burma Train
  • Kalua
  • M'Gambo Mambo
  • Buddhist Bells
  • M'Bira
  • Flamingo
  • Llama Serenade (Peruvian Llama Song)
  • Akaka Falls
  • Bangkok Cockfight
  • Mau Mau
  • Dites Moi
  • Jamaica Farewell
Instruments Employed:

Japanese Koto ond Prayer Bells
African Thumpiano (M'Bira)
Tuned chromatic Bamboo
Marimbulo (West Indies)
Primitive log from New Guinea
Burmese gongs and cymbols
Japanese glass chimes
Bamboo chimes
Console Concert Marimba for 4 hands
Tuned Steel drum
. . . and numerous other unique and unusual instruments

Performing Group On Primativa:

Martin Denny: Arranger-Composer, Piano, Celeste
Julius Wechter: Vibes, Marimbas, Percussion
August Colon: Bird Calls, Percussion, Bongos, Congas
Harvey Ragsdale: String Bass, Marimbula
Guest Artists:

Roy Hart: Percussion
Tak-Shind: Koto
Jerry Williams: Mallets, Percussion

Producer: Si Waronker
Cover Design: Garrett-Howard
Engineer: Ted Keep

Liberty Records - Album LRP 3087