This discount-priced two-fer combines a couple of modestly successful Percy Faith albums on international themes: 1962's Music of Brazil! and 1963's Shangri-La!. Faith delighted in assembling collections of music with overseas flavors, but he never really ventured very far, usually preferring to present his interpretation of some other North American's interpretation of what the music of another clime sounded like. Music of Brazil! may have been released in the teeth of the samba fad of the early '60s, but Faith's take on the style derived from an earlier Brazilian craze of the early '40s, when the U.S. government was encouraging friendship with South America as a bulwark against Nazism. This is more swing music with Latin percussion, and it includes Faith's versions of hits like "Brazil," associated with Xavier Cugat. Of course, Faith had one of the biggest hits of his career in 1952 with "Delicado," and a new recording is included. Shangri-La! has even less legitimacy as a musical journey through the South Seas and the Far East, as its title, referring to a fictional utopia, suggests. These are Faith's arrangements of songs written mostly in Broadway and Hollywood for shows and films set in Asia and the Pacific Rim, such as Kismet and The King and I. The strings weave an alluring mystery, but the music was not made on location.
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AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann