Art Ferrante of Ferrante & Teicher just died at age 88, following the death of his musical partner last year. And so ends the lives of one of the very first avant-pop bands. Decades before The Beatles, The Velvet Underground, Brian Eno, et.al. fused pop music with experimentation, the two pianists were crossing the aisle. The academic avant-garde was way over on this side, and the mainstream popsters were all the way on that side - two groups that scarcely knew the other existed.
But in 1950 Ferrante & Teicher went into a New York studio to start recording this album, playing short catchy piano instrumentals with whimsical titles that unlike, say, Lawrence Welk or Montavani, also used all manner of Space-Age studio effects, and a John Cage-like "prepared piano" technique, inserting objects within the piano strings to produce unusual sounds, tho they claim that they came up with the idea on their own.
They abandoned that session, but went on to record similiar albums in the '50s like "Soundproof," "Blast Off!" (courtesy of Mutant Sounds) and "Hi-Fireworks" (courtesy of Music You (Possible) Won't Hear Anyplace Else.) By the '60s they had largely dropped the weird stuff in favor of a hugely lucrative EZ career, but a half-century later they rediscovered the tapes of the 1950 sessions and finished the album you now hold in your hands (as they used to say in the days of record liner notes).
It's moody (dare I say 'ambient'?) stuff. At a mere 27 minutes long it hardly wears out it's welcome. Track 11, "The Loch Ness Monster Stomp," is a particular fave - an alternate-universe '50s sock hop classic.
Ferrante & Teicher "Denizens of the Deep"