Sophisticated Voodoo Jazz of the 50's

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, May 15, 2018 01:25pm | Post a Comment

Mystery Skull

By Kai Wada Roath
Ambassador of Confusion Hill and host of the Super Shangri-La ShowRobert Drasnin, Voodoo

So, you just found a Mystic Skull board game with all the pieces at the swap-meet and you are having some friends coming over to play it before watching Val Lewton's 1943 classic, I Walked with a Zombie. You frustratingly find yourself digging through your vinyl vaults and cannot seem to find the right music to set the eerie atmosphere you desire. Let my red chicken foot charm point you the way to the records you seek...some for the music, others for their covers.

Robert Drasnin's 1959 album titled Voodoo, is truly superb. You can easily feel entranced from the music, luring your mind deep into a forbidden jungle while listening to "Chant of the Moon." If the stars are in alignment, you may be lucky enough to find this record on colored vinyl (I recently found a yellow one). Perhaps some of you may have even seen Robert Drasnin when he performed at the Tiki Oasis back in 2008.

Perez Prado's "Voodoo Suite" is the "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" of jungle jazz. From exotic drumming and primitive shouts and grunts to smooth jazz beats, this 23 minute piece makes you wish you were prowling on all fours like a tiger, hunting a scantly clad prey in the Jungle Rock Room at the Madonna Inn. Listen to it in its entirety, and if you stumble across this record in the wild do not hesitate in buying it. Pounce on it! In my humble opinion, this composition is a masterpiece.

If you are a fan of the Yusef Lateef's jazz flute, but love Martin Denny-ish bird and animals calls, you willProvocatif, John McFarland thoroughly enjoy Provocatif: 9 Exotic Motifs by John McFarland. Released in 1959, this album is a tad rare but can still be found in Jazz and Exotica sections time to time. After all, a treasure seeker must dig.

The 1956 album Tanganyika, composed by Buddy Collette, drifts my mind to memories of sitting at Specs' Twelve Adler Museum Café under the painting of Sonia Simmons, sipping a highball and playing a game of Fox & Geese on their tattered old checkerboard. There is something to be said about this mysteriously dark, yet smoooooth-sounding jazz album, which brings dreams of nostalgia.

Nicely snuggled between my Chaino and Tak Shindo records, these are just a few of the late 1950's jazz albums with voodoo theme covers that I have collected and enjoy. I hope you seek one or two of them out at your favorite music store and enjoy them as well.


The Rites of Diablo

Voodoo Suite, Perez Prado

Richard Hayman


Relevant Tags

Kai Wada Roath (43), Vinyl (210), Exotica (15), Jazz (153), Voodoo (3), Tiki (5), Perez Prado (2), Robert Drasnin (1), Yusef Lateef (5), Martin Denny (8), Buddy Collette (1), Chaino (3), Tak Shindo (3)