Greg Poppleton

21 May - Hear 1940s Jazz Harpsichord on this week's Phantom Dancer LISTEN

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26 September 2023

(Until 26 September)

Martin Denny ‘Father of Exotica’ – Phantom Dancer

Greg Poppleton's Phantom Dancer swing jazz radio show

Martin Denny was the Father of Exotica and is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist. He was an American pianist, percussionist, composer and arranger writing and playing Lounge Music that  celebrated Tiki Culture.

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The Phantom Dancer is your weekly non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV every week.

LISTEN to this week’s Phantom Dancer mix (online after 2pm AEST, Tuesday 26 September) and weeks of Phantom Dancer mixes online at, at https://2ser.com/phantom-dancer/

MARTIN DENNY

Martin Denny studied classical piano.

He toured South America for four and a half years in the 1930s with the Don Dean Orchestra. This tour sparked Denny’s fascination with Latin rhythms. Denny collected a large number of instruments from all over the world, which he used to spice up his stage performances.

After serving in the United States Army Air Forces in World War II, he studied piano and composition under Dr. Wesley La Violette and orchestration under Arthur Lange at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. He later studied at the University of Southern California.

In January 1954, Don the Beachcomber brought Denny to Honolulu for a two-week engagement. He stayed to form his own combo in 1955, performing under contract at the Shell Bar in the Hawaiian Village on Oahu and soon signing to Liberty Records.

The original combo consisted of Augie Colon on percussion and birdcalls, Arthur Lyman on vibes, John Kramer on string bass, and Denny on piano.

“We traveled a lot on the Mainland, but we came back every 12 weeks because the guys had their families here [in Hawaii],” recalled Denny.

Denny described the music his combo played as “window dressing a background”. He built a collection of exotic instruments with the help of several airline friends. They would bring Denny instruments back and he would build arrangements around them. His music was a South Pacific, the Orient and Latin rhythms.

During an engagement at the Shell Bar, Denny discovered what would become his trademark and the birth of “Exotica”.

The bar had a very exotic setting: a little pool of water right outside the bandstand, rocks and palm trees growing around, very quiet and relaxed.

As the group played at night, Denny became aware of bullfrogs croaking. The croaking blended with the music and when the band stopped, so did the frogs. He thought it was a coincidence at first, but when he tried the tune again, the same thing happened. This time, his bandmates began doing all sorts of tropical bird calls as a gag. The band thought it nothing more than a joke.

The next day, someone approached Denny and asked if he would do the arrangement with the birds and frogs. He agreed. At rehearsal, he had the band do “Quiet Village” with each doing a bird call. Denny did the frog part on a grooved cylinder and the whole thing became incorporated into the arrangement of “Quiet Village”. It sold more than one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

The Exotica album was recorded in December 1956 and released in 1957. In 1958, Dick Clark hosted Denny on American Bandstand. “Quiet Village” reached #2 on Billboard’s charts in 1959 with the Exotica album reaching #1.

Denny had as many as three or four albums on the charts simultaneously during his career. He had national hits with “A Taste of Honey”, “The Enchanted Sea”, and “Ebb Tide”.

26 September PLAY LIST

Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney
LISTEN ONLINE
Community Radio Network Show CRN #618

107.3 2SER Tuesday 26 September 2023
12:04 – 2:00pm (+10 hours GMT)
National Program
5UV Adelaide Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am
3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am
4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am
2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4am
2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4am
2BRW Braidwood Monday 3 – 4am
2YYY Young Monday 3 – 4am
7RPH Hobart Monday 3 – 4pm
3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm
7MID Oatlands Monday 3am – 4 and 6 -7pm
2MCE Bathurst Wednesday 9 – 10am
1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Friday 10 – 11am
and Sunday 11pm
Reading Radio (QLD) Friday 1am – 2
2RRR Ryde Friday 11am – 12
2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm
5LCM Lofty FM Adelaide Friday 1 – 2pm
6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Saturday 4am – 5am
Denmark FM (West Australia) Saturday 10 – 11am
Repeat: Wednesdays 10 – 11pm
7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am
3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am
3BBR West Gippsland Sunday 5 – 6pm
2SEA Sapphire Coast Eden Sunday 9 – 10pm

Set 1
Count Basie Orchestra
Open + One O’Clock Jump (theme) + Diggin’ for Dex
Count Basie Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln NYC
AFRS Re-broadcast
10 Apr 1944
My Ideal
Count Basie Orchestra (voc) Thelma Carpenter
‘One Night Stand’
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln NYC
AFRS Re-broadcast
10 Apr 1944
Blue Lou
Count Basie Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln NYC
AFRS Re-broadcast
10 Apr 1944
Ain’t it the TruthCount Basie Orchestra
‘One Night Stand’
Blue Room
Hotel Lincoln NYC
AFRS Re-broadcast
10 Apr 1944
Set 2
Woody Herman’s Third Herd
Happiness is Just a Thing Named Joe
Woody Herman’s Third Herd (voc) Leah Matthews
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’ Peony Park
WOW NBC Omaha
Nebraska
1948
Mulligantawny
Woody Herman’s Third Herd
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’ Peony Park
WOW NBC Omaha
Nebraska
1948
Mambo the Most + Close
Woody Herman’s Third Herd
‘All-Star Parade of Bands’ Peony Park
WOW NBC Omaha
Nebraska
1948
Set 3
Martin Denny
Tell Me Why
Martin Denny
London House
WBBM CBS Chicago
1959
New York Medley
Martin Denny
London House
WBBM CBS Chicago
1959
Akaka Falls
Martin Denny
London House
WBBM CBS Chicago
1959
Mocambo Mambo + Quiet Village (theme)
Martin Denny
London House
WBBM CBS Chicago
1959
Set 4
Muggsy Spanier
Moonglow
Muggsy Spanier
Club Hangover
KCBS San Francisco
27 Nov 1954
The Honky Tonk Train
Tiny Crump (piano)
Club Hangover
KCBS San Francisco
27 Nov 1954
St Louis Blues
Muggsy Spanier
Club Hangover
KCBS San Francisco
27 Nov 1954
Relaxin’ at the Touro (theme)
Muggsy Spanier
Club Hangover
KCBS San Francisco
27 Nov 1954
Set 5
Camel Caravans
Indiana
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) Johnny Mercer and Band
‘Camel Caravan’
Lyric Theatre
CBS Indianapolis
7 Mar 1939

Hold Tight
Benny Goodman Orchestra
‘Camel Caravan’
WABC CBS NYC
4 Apr 1939
Sent for You Yesterday
Benny Goodman Orchestra‘Camel Caravan’
Stanley Theatre
CBS Pittsburgh
14 Mar 1939
Shadrack
Benny Goodman Orchestra (voc) Johnny Mercer and Band
‘Camel Caravan’
WABC CBS NYC
4 Apr 1939
Set 6
Bob Crosby
It’s a Long Way to Tipperary
Bob Crosby Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands’
Blue Network
3 Dec 1942
Diga Diga Do
Bob Crosby Orchestra
‘Spotlight Bands’
Blue Network
3 Dec 1942
In The Mood
Bob Crosby Orchestra
Terrace Room
Hotel New Yorker
WOR Mutual NYC
25 Mar 1940
Where the Blue of the Night Meets the Gold of the Day
Bob Crosby Orchestra (voc) Bob Crosby
Terrace Room
Hotel New Yorker
WOR Mutual NYC
25 Mar 1940
Set 7
Charlie Barnet
Ya Got Me
Charlie Barnet Orchestra
Radio Transcription
Apr 1938
Murder at Peyton Hall
Charlie Barnet OrchestraCasino Gardens
Ocean Park Ca
KECA ABC LA
3 Jan 1947
Chatterbox
Charlie Barnet Orchestra
Radio Transcription
Apr 1938
Bonne – Intermezzo
Charlie Barnet Orchestra
Casino Gardens
Ocean Park Ca
KECA ABC LA
3 Jan 1947
Set 8
Modern Jazz
Tippin’ Out (theme) + Just Too Marvellous for Words
Erroll Garner Trio
Basin Street
WCBS CBS NYC
May 1956
MistyErroll Garner Trio
Basin Street
WCBS CBS NYC
May 1956
Flat Foot Floogie + Cement Mixer
Slim Gaillard
‘Symphony Sid Show’
Birdland
WJZ ABC  NYC
26 May 1951
All Gigs
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
2SER Radio 107.3 Sydney
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