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Dick Hyman & Mary Mayo
LP | 1963 | UK (Alternative Fox)
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Release:1963 / UK
Adventurous keyboardist and arranger Dick Hyman worked in radio, film and television before making a name for himself as a jazz pianist in the mid-1950s with a hugely popular harpsichord rendition of “Mack The Knife.” An early experimenter with electronic instruments, including the Moog, his 1963 rarity Moon Gas, produced by Creed Taylor and recorded with Sinatra sidekick and Broadway musical mainstay Mary Mayo, was conceived as “a glimpse of the possible sounds of the 22nd Century.” Blasting lounge music and love ballads into the nether regions of outer space, Moon Gas pitted Hyman’s organ, mini-organ and piano riffs against Mayo’s ethereal voice-—sometimes singing wordlessly, other times with actual lyrics—atop a tight studio ensemble, the sounds made more otherworldly through the use of an ondioline, a martinot, oscillators and Vinnie Bell’s customised guitar, which allowed for individualised sound effects. Although improvised opener “Moon Gas” sounds pleasantly jazzy, “Maid of the Moon” and “Space Reflex” reach the cosmos and there’s a one-off rendition of Joao Gilberto’s “Desafinado” too, delivered with skill in Portuguese.
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