I’ve never been shy about my love of jazz, pretty much every style across the spectrum, save Dixieland (sorry, not sorry). One of my all-time favorite sub-genres out of that bunch is Exotica, the Latin-leaning, arrangement-driven “easy listening” style made famous by Martin Denny in the ’50s. Now, I know I’m far from the only Texan who loves Exotica; see for instance Dallas-born keyboardist Frank LoCrasto, whose citified upbringing made him yearn for the idiosyncratic mystique of tropical resorts. LoCrasto still lives the city life – in Brooklyn – where he’s eponymously released four solo albums and scored for television and film since the early ’00s. But to compensate for lack of sand and palm trees in his ongoing urban surroundings, LoCrasto has recently created a new project that fully embraces Exotica, Kolumbo.
LoCrasto serves as composer, arranger, and keyboardist for Kolumbo and conducted group sessions that averaged around a dozen players per track for his debut LP Gung Ho. An instant mood-setter, Gung Ho melds modern sensibilities with mid-century orchestral jazz-pop formulas for an eight-track experience that’ll make you want to go on vacation permanently. So fill a coconut cup with your favorite refreshment, toss on some shades and a straw hat, and sink into “The Key Club, 1976”.