A Korla Pandit Documentary and What You Learn from Your Records when You Give Them the Freedom to Assemble
Another not much of a heads-up: for lovers of Exotica, there’s now a Korla Pandit documentary, Korla, directed by John Turner! If you’re anywhere close to Newport Beach, CA, it’s screening at the Newport Beach Film Festival on April 29th. Thrill at the range of possibilities for using the term “sonic dildo”, as heard below!
Korla was in on it, so this is a legitimate segue. Not too long ago I woke up, turned on my conga player lamp (who’s missing his earring, which is so annoying. But on the bright side, how many times do you get to say that your lamp is missing an earring?) and found a sizable congregation of records stacked neatly under the end table because in my house, they have the right to assemble. They demanded that I recognize them as a legitimate section: the pop organ music section. Well, I admitted sheepishly, I didn’t realize how many of you there were lying around. So I granted their request. Here are some favorites. Many are uptempo, many are of the Latin persuasion and most are played on the Hammond:
One of the funnest and an easy one to get your hands on is Caravan (1959) by Eddie Layton, who not only put out a slew of albums, but played for three New York sports teams.
Inferno! (1959) by The John Buzon Trio. Still trying to get my hands on Cha Cha on the Rocks…
Dee-Latin (1958) by Lenny Dee, who had his Hammond custom-built. Don’t miss Happy Holi-Dee! Even more poodles!
Lovely Companion by Jack Cooper. Cover shot at Cypress Gardens in Florida. Includes a lovely rendition of “Swamp Fire”, one of my favorite Exotica tunes.
Shango! Night in a Quiet Village (1965) by Panamanian organist Kip Anderson and the Tides. I’m too lazy to take a picture of my copy, which would have been a better image. Sorry.
Hot and Cole (1959) by the swingin’ Buddy Cole. Powerhouse! is another great one.
Latin from Manhattan by Ethel Smith.
Here’s Ethel playing her big hit “Tico Tico” in Bathing Beauty:
…and I can’t resist posting this clip of the impossibly beautiful Lina Romay accompanied by Xavier Cugat and his Orchestra, also from Bathing Beauty (Seriously. How many more reasons do you need to seek out this film?):
The list wouldn’t be complete without some Crime Jazz:
The Man from O.R.G.A.N. (1965) by Dick Hyman.
Walter Wanderley, our best known of the group, never fails to remind us that he’s Brazil’s number one organist:
Rain Forest (1966).
Tiger on the Hammond (1960) by Jackie Davis. While not one of my favorites musically, Jackie deserves an honorable mention for Bravest Cover.
And finally to book-end this with Korla Pandit at the pipe organ, a one-man band charming snakes and wilting women:
Tropical Magic (1959). Pandit’s interpretation of “Tabu” shines here. Submit to his sorcery and go on a flight of fancy!