Martin Denny’s Exotica: The Soundtrack to a Bygone Era

Martin Denny

Happy birthday to the “father of exotica” Martin Denny, born on this day April 10, 1911 in New York, NY.

Martin Denny’s album Exotica is a genre-defining blend of jazz, world music, and tropical sounds that captured the imagination of a generation. With its lush instrumentation and evocative melodies, Denny’s music continues to inspire and delight listeners today.

Martin Denny’s Influence on Exotica Music

Exotica music, popularized by Martin Denny in the 1950s and 60s, was a unique blend of jazz, world music, and tropical sounds that created a dreamy, exotic atmosphere. Denny’s music often featured instruments like vibraphones, bongos, and bird calls, and was inspired by his travels to Hawaii and other tropical locations. His music became a cultural phenomenon and influenced many other artists in the world of music, including Les Baxter and Arthur Lyman. Today, Exotica music is still enjoyed by many and continues to inspire new generations of musicians.

The Cultural Significance of Exotica

Martin Denny’s Exotica not only defined a generation but also had a significant cultural impact. It was a reflection of the post-World War II fascination with travel and exploration, as well as the rise of tiki culture and the popularity of Polynesian-themed restaurants and bars. Exotica music also played a role in breaking down cultural barriers, as it featured musicians from diverse backgrounds and incorporated elements of world music. Today, Exotica music continues to be celebrated for its unique sound and cultural significance.

Here is Denny’s enchanting version of the Mediterranean folk song “Misirlou.”

Curated by Jennifer