A Far East Fantasy In Latin Dance Rhythm (49th State Hawaii Record Co.) 195?-6?
A minor classic of cringeworthy kitsch. In addition to loads of authentic Hawaiian recordings on 45, 78, and compiled on LPs, 49th State put out a number of records that seemed aimed at tourists, servicemen, and the exotica market: Holiday In Japan, Farewell Tokyo, To Remember Japan, etc. The company seems to be based in LA by this time. The premise here is that recognizable folk tunes from Japan, China, Korea, and the Philippines are given popular Latin dance arrangements. Boleros, cha-cha-chas, sambas, rock & roll mambo. You can guess the results. But two of the twelve tracks here transcend their exploitative origins: "Aizu Ban Dai San" with a rhumba beat has a really nice Noro Morales vibe with exciting percussion, piano, background shouting; the eastern theme is carried at times by muted trumpet, at times by guitar. Just shy of a true banger but it slots in nicely in a set between Jack Costanzo and Yusuf Lateef. "Yaimachi-Guza" is presented in two variations, of which the "Cugat Style" is best. It's a slow burner with some nice tropical Marc Ribot-sounding guitar. Who're the musicians responsible? No idea but they're credited in tiny print on the back as The All-Star Orchestra.
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