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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars11
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on March 9, 2012
About Vols. 1-3 - Pluses:
1. Twenty-four albums!
2. Thirteen of the albums have never before been available on CD or through download, although some of the individual tracks can be found on collections such as BAXTER'S BEST or THE EXOTIC MOODS.
3. Sound - not perfect, but good.
4. Cost - at only a little over $1 per album, what's to argue with?

1. NOT digital remasters from the original source. With earphones, one can hear that these tracks (I suspect all) are lifted from vinyl. There is occasional distortion from wear, and there are some ticks and pops, although fairly quiet. I also hear a just-barely-late entrance on one track (on Volume 1) and a rather-too-abrupt finish on another (on Volume 2).

About VOL. 3 specifically:
Four of these eight albums have not been available on disc prior to this release: CONFETTI, SOUTH PACIFIC, LOVE IS A FABULOUS THING, and WILD GUITARS. If a more perfect sound really matters to you, the other four - AFRICAN JAZZ, JUNGLE JAZZ, SPACE ESCAPADE, and THE SACRED IDOL (incredible exotica albums, all) - can be purchased elsewhere in recent remasters at a substantially higher cost. Still, as for this VOL. 3 box set, I can't see how anyone loses. Mr. Baxter was one extraordinary artist and this is just great stuff.

It'd be nice to see yet ANOTHER multi-disc release. After all, this three volume collection doesn't have all the Capitol LPs, and then there are the 45s and EPs to consider, too. One can always hope.
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on July 17, 2012
This set offers a lot for the money, but the Stereo separation leaves a lot to be desired on some.
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on February 7, 2013
I love the touch of exotic that is embodied in Les Baxter's work. The sound quality and music selection are both excellent, and a real bargain!
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on March 12, 2015
I knew what to expect ! I've been a fan for decades . Very nice and interesting orchestrations ! Love the instrumentations , especially the tenor sax of Plas Johnson on Jungle Jazz .
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on August 5, 2013
Among music collectors today, Les Baxter is probably best remembered for his exotica which was an integral part of what we now call "Exotica" or "Space Age Pop." It's easy to forget that Baxter also recorded many "easy listening" albums which sometimes included a vocal choir. The advent of the long playing 12-inch record gave musicians the opportunity to record "theme" albums, and Les Baxter quickly rose to the forefront. I have purchased volumes 2 and 3 of this collection and find them highly enjoyable--if one keeps in mind the era in which and for which, they were recorded. Frequently overlooked (or completely unknown) is the fact that Baxter was just a figurehead. The fact is, he couldn't read a score. His earlier "exotica" albums were arranged by Arthur Harris, one of the really talented arrangers of the time; the Yma Sumac recordings were mostly arranged by Pete Rugolo. Noted jazz chronicler Gene Lees called Baxter 'one of the biggest four-flushers in the business' A similarly low opinion was held by Nelson Riddle who was the ghost-writer for several numbers for which Baxter took credit. The extent of Baxter's lack of musical talent was perhaps best illustrated by Andre Previn in Peter J. Levinson's book "September In the Rain: The Life of Nelson Riddle." Previn related that Baxter started attending classes being taught by Mario Tedesco, one of the most highly regarded music teachers in the counry. When Previn (who knew about Baxter's lack of musical skills) asked Tedesco how Baxter was doing, Tedesco told him it was pointless because Baxter was hiring others to do his homework assignments. But it was Nat 'King' Cole who first publicly revealed Baxter's shortcomings. At a recording session where Baxter was conducting, Cole questioned a certain section of the music--only to discover that Baxter couldn't read the score. When Cole went to Capitol producer Lee Gillette, he was told the arrangement was written by Nelson Riddle. Thus began Cole's public musical association with Nelson Riddle, who wrote some of Cole's biggest hits including "Unforgettable." His arrangement of "Mona Lisa" was Cole's biggest hit--although Baxter took credit for the it. Years later, if memory serves me correctly, the National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) corrected their records to show that this 1950 Academy Award winning song had indeed been arranged by Nelson Riddle and not by Les Baxter. All that aside, the music is well-crafted--whoever arranged it-- played by excellent musicians, and accurately reflects the mood of the day (1955 - 1957) without the kind of musical pandering engaged in by Mitch Miller and others. The sound quality is fine and the price for eight albums on four compact discs is unbeatable. And if "La Femme" by Les Baxter and Franck Purcell seems a little too lush and lovely, and "Skins!" gets more than a little tedious, remember that people probably bought these albums for the novelty of hearing lush orchestral settings and bongos on their new hi-fi equipment and to gauge the quality of those systems. Keep the proper perspective regarding the contents, and you'll probably enjoy this collection.
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on February 17, 2013
I'm not saying Baxter's music is bad by any means, but most of it is not what I expected. Since a couple of his tunes have been included in compilations of "Tiki lounge music," like that of Martin Denny, and since his name appears during searches of Martin Denny, I thought more of the music would be like that. Instead, I found much or even most of it to be light orchestral music, almost like what you'd hear on "The Lawrence Welk Show." And, to me, much of the music on the eight-disc set sounded the same. I found myself skipping to the next song quite a bit, because each one sounded like the last -- again, in my opinion. Some of the titles sound exotic and with themes, such as under the sea, so I thought they'd sound more exotic than they do. Frankly, I find much of it bland.
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on September 15, 2014
Truly Exotic and great sound Quality. Cds only!! there is no Album artwork or liner notes. Great to load up on your I-pod or if you still have a multiple Cd player, put it on Shuffle.
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on November 26, 2013
I really like this music and having all the albums available it great.The originals are not easy to find in perfect shape. These deliver.
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on September 4, 2014
Very nice for a lazy afternoon.
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on February 12, 2015
All his music!
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