Originally released as 2 separate LPs: BRAZIL NOW (1966)/AFRICAN BLUE (1967).
Released in 1966 and 1967 as the albums BRAZIL NOW and AFRICAN BLUE, the 25 tracks on this well-annotated collection capture composer/arranger/tenor saxophonist Les Baxter towards the end of his primary creative period. Baxter's special brand of easy listening and world music influences wasn't as unique by the mid-'60s as it had been a decade before. Bossa nova artists like Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto were making a heftier, more authentic version of the same sort of music that's on this disc, and at the time, Baxter's slick orchestral arrangements sounded kind of old-fashioned.
Now, of course, that's kind of the point, and in hindsight, there's no way you can go wrong with tunes like Francis Lai's "A Man and a Woman" and Jobim's "Berimbau." Hipsters might have originally been smirking when they revived this music, but there's genuine artistry to be found here.