October 21, 2010
The ninth new Les Baxter release in the last 18 months Sadismo, a film that this reviewer has never seen or heard of, is a Kritzerland 1000 unit limited edition. Ignore the title because it is very misleading and really doesn’t depict the kind of music one might think about. This is another undiscovered little gem from the pen of Les, who did a lot of work for American International Pictures in the 60’s, had little or no money in his budget, so he developed and crafted the art of producing material that had the sound of a lot larger group and could fit into different types of genre. Sadismo had less than 10 musicians and 60+ minutes of material was recorded in one day, remarkable for what goes on today with million dollar budgets and days of time in the studio. When you listen to some of the flute, harp, percussion, and keyboard material one could make a case that some what you hear is improvisational and this is perhaps true given the time deadlines.
The “Main Title,” is performed on the trumpet with a wordless chanting in the background. It is a slow plodding funeral march which evokes doom and gloom and it is repeated throughout the score. “Tokyo After Dark” is a three part cue which offers some nice flute work backed by harp followed by an old time dance number and concludes with a trumpet solo backed by a tom-tom pounding on the drums which reminded me of Sing Sing Sing. “Agony and Ectasy” is a three part cue that offers some nice flute work, a South American rhythm riff before it ends with an upbeat version of the main theme. “Blues for Sadismos” offers good keyboard work with another flute solo in a blues beat. There are several flute solos throughout and is the featured instrument for this score when there is a melody line offered in the cue. “End Title” begins with harp glissando material, another funeral/death march with the wailing voices in the background, some sci-fi material, and then a long period of silence leading into some Baxter dialogue followed by a nice extended blues piano. It concludes with a nice two minute drum solo that could have been on any number of jazz albums. I mention the long pause because the first listen I thought it was over and turned the player off. It is a versatile score which also offers a music box lullaby, honky tonk piano, an extended harp solo complete with glissandos on “Free Love,” voodoo music and a lot of chanting.
If you’re a Baxter fan like this reviewer pick this one up before it becomes sold out material like most of his other releases. There was some stock available at the time of this writing. Jazz and exotica lovers will also find this an attractive package, especially flute fans. It also offers some of the most interesting cue names I’ve seen in a long time. Recommended.
Recorded at Ryder Studios, July 28, 1967
Les Baxter (Leader)
Hall P. Daniels
Clare Fischer (woodwinds, piano)
Irving Cottier (drums, percussion)
Kathryn Julye (harp, piano)
Leonard A. Mach (trumpet)
Harry Klee (woodwinds)
Gene P. Estes (percussion)
Hall P. Daniels