Les Baxter

Arthur Murray Favorites: Tangos

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Dance instructor Arthur Murray endorsed a six-album series on Capitol in 1960, performed by different orchestras and leaders and devoted to specific dances. Les Baxter handled the tangos volume, while other albums in the series dealt with waltzes, rhumbas, fox trots, and the like. The albums are not instructional -- they contain mostly instrumental performances of music considered ideal for the specified dances. Baxter, with his history of interpreting music from around the world, was charged with creating the tangos album and is at ease directing his orchestra through numbers like "La Cumparsita" and "El Choclo." A vocal chorus appears in places, usually in a supporting role, but takes the lead on "The Moon Was Yellow." The Arthur Murray connection may scare away potential listeners who assume that the album is instructional or strictly utilitarian, but it is a full-fledged Les Baxter album that he took audible care to craft.