Published in 1965, Percussion -- Playful and Pretty may be the last hurrah for the orchestral-percussion showcase album. Most of these records were made circa 1960 in order to demonstrate stereo and promote records on the Command, RCA, and Time labels, among others. Veteran session percussionists, Rosengarden and Kraus performed on hundreds of records of this type. (Kraus also recorded an earlier solo vehicle, The Percussive Phil Kraus, which is him playing jazz vibes.) This record, of "Spruced-Up Mood Music" as RCA calls it, romps through several old chestnuts with a fresh attitude. Many delightful surprises, particularly on "Satan Takes a Holiday" and "Goofus," include such unusual instruments as the calliope and buzzimba. But unlike most of its predecessors, this record never gets caught up in stereo action, delivering instead Rosengarden and Kraus' intriguing, lighthearted, consistent musicianship.
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AllMusic Review by Tony Wilds