Martin Denny

Martin Denny cornered the market on the musical style of the early 1950s known as exotica. The smooth melody of the songs were enhanced by hundreds of different tropical sounding instruments, jungle noises and the call of birds. Martin began his musical career as a composer and piano playing bandleader in the era of the swing bands. He was booked for a 3-week engagement in Hawaii where he developed the idea of creating "mood music" for the island. With the beautiful setting as a background, Martin added bird calls and other sounds to enhance the idea of the exotic location, the term "exotica" was created and a new style of music emerged. When exotica enjoyed resurgence in popularity during the late 1980s, a study was conducted among percussionists who discovered the innovative use of rhythm instruments that had been all but forgotten, until Martin's use of them. 

Interview Date:
February 19, 2003
Date of Birth:
April 10, 1911
Deceased Date:
March 2, 2005
Job Title:
Musician, Band Leader

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