Customer Reviews: Voodoo Suite/Exotic Suite
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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on October 7, 1998
The first half of this album is an incredibly authentic-feeling, as well as truly entertaining, exploration of the development of jazz. It starts with hypnotic tribal chanting, then moves into ritualistic drumming and talking drums, and eventually ends up in a wild, Afro-Cuban big band jam. If this sounds academic at all, forget it. This album swings from beginning to end. I've had the album for 35 years, and I still look forward to hearing it. The second half is typical Perez Prado; hard-swinging Afro-Cuban big band mambo madness.
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on April 8, 2015
Bear Family really have a lock on Damaso Perez Prado's four best concept albums. HAVANA 3 A.M./MAMBO MANIA are absolutely essential, there are several superior hits packages from RCA, and this imaginative pairing is a not-distant third priority for its advanced musicmaking, Ellingtonesque long-form experimentation (Damaso as composer-arranger-conductor) and the insistent, sweaty, tropical dance beat that infuses every track Damaso ever cut. Both albums, made in Hollywood 1954 and Manhattan (with a full Gotham string section) 1962, found Damaso at important career peaks, having massive international hit singles that allowed RCA to indulge the bandleader with vanity projects such as the two ambitious--and very entertaining--jazz suites, which together run the better part of an hour and feature remarkable sidemen including Maynard Ferguson, Shorty Rogers, Doc Severinsen and Eddie Gomez. Both suites are arresting and progressive, great Prez jazz workouts, but the bonus "filler" tracks are equally cool, especially "St. James Infirmary," "Son of a gun," the 1962 tribute "Jacqueline and Caroline" and the killer chart for "I could have danced all night," Damaso flirting with Top 40 bubblegum rock and making a real Latino conquest.

This CD twofer has been around since 1990, only latterly joined by some very shabby and overpriced reissues from Damaso's Mexico City post-RCA semiretirement. We now have--in addition to newer mambo/dengue/salsa CDs led by Damaso's son Damaso Perez Salinas (performing as "Perez Prado Jr.")--digital releases of the younger brother's 1970s funk albums ESCANDALO and LOVE CHILD. Most discographies conflate the two artists and their output, doing both major disservice and perplexing browsing buyers. The elder sibling, Damaso (1916-89), took as his stage name the surnames of both parents, thus Perez Prado the RCA hitmaker in Mexico City, Manhattan and Hollywood we all know. The much younger brother, Pantaleon (1926-83), also took the stage name Perez Prado, played funk rather than mambo and was most active in Milano. And if you're not thoroughly confused, recall that Damaso the Mambo King's son carries on the family tradition, again using the grandparents' surnames to brand the leader.

I am now thoroughly confused, but my listening and research have taught me that Damaso Perez Prado is the real thing, the authentic Mambo King, and he is most reliably represented on the Bear Family and RCA imprints, plus Sepia's great twofer of a rare live royal-wedding gig in Tokyo, 1960, and the surprisingly brilliant twist album of 1962, the same year as this release's EXOTIC SUITE. Bear Family's asking price for their HAVANA and VOODOO twofers is justified, for both have carefully remastered sound and very lavishly illustrated and informative documentation booklets.
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on February 1, 2005
GREAT... WACKY... TRIBAL... PULSATING...MONDO...WEIRD...20+ minutes of VOODOO SUITE, kindda like Martin Denny lost in the Twilight Zone!!! ST. JAMES INFIRMARY is also REALLY STRANGE (unique).In fact, the whole DOUBLE-ALBUM cd rocks/swings/grunts/moans & hypnotizes the listener into craving more. This is REALLY a pretty good time & I loved every minute of it. Give it a try...just imagine Ricky Riccardo & Fred Mertz having the lead roles in the cult film FORBIDDEN ZONE...Oingo Boingo!!!
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on April 25, 2014
What's not to like. Trippy jams and happy mamboish takes on Jazz standards. Why some would call this loopy or a weak effort compared to the great Jazz jams of the period, the feel of this album puts my fav jam bands of the 60's/70' into perspective.
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on May 17, 2015
I bought the long-playing record of this when it first came out. I really like the Voodoo Suite. It is still in good shape, but this CD offering includes a bonus, so I bought it and was not disappointed.
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on March 20, 2013
Voodoo Suite is very different than anything heard by Perez Prado. It's his version of the history of music and I think it's the best thing he did.
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on September 9, 2009
"Voodoo Suite/Exotic Suite" - two LPs, one CD of
incredible depth. It ranges from ethereal to somber
before doubling back to the festive flirting with the relaxing.

Perez Prado and Shorty Rogers remain obscure -
My first exposure to Prado's work was "Mondo Mambo."

Lou Bega's association with Mambo No. 5 left an
unfortunately saccharin taste in my mouth rendering
"Mondo Mambo" a private pleasure.

However, after a viewing of "Aventurera" and its
accompanying commentary, the works of Perez Prado
gained a renewed personal reverence.

To the unfamiliar, I might describe this disc as
A long James Brown jam in a rumba style - though
Brown likely garnered some of his showmanship from
Prado and others of the same era.

Any audio fidelity issues can be resolved with a
decent equalizer.
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on February 26, 2014
Love this music. I had the LP when I was 17 years and played it all the time. Wadda Woo Wah!!
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on November 3, 2015
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on January 8, 2015
A lot better than the LP I have before.
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