Korla Pandit

Exotica 2000

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A far too short compilation of some of Korla Pandit's most oddball originals and covers. The mysterious Pandit, who was immensely popular for a stretch in the mid-'50s thanks to a 15-minute daily TV show during which he merely played a Hammond B-3 organ without speaking, was certainly capable of some very odd performances. This album's opener transforms "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" from a heartfelt ballad into a perky march suitable for broadcast at your local minor-league baseball field, and the original "The Magnetic Theme" is even odder, incorporating faux Middle Eastern musical clich├ęs into a Mancini-like strut. But these oddities were only one side of Pandit's musical style, which ranged from Bach's organ fugues to Jimmy Smith-style jazz-pop, and those listeners looking for more of a historical exercise than a quick smug giggle would be better served elsewhere.

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