The Percussive Phil Kraus
Phil Kraus The Percussive Phil Kraus 7" (Golden Crest, 195?)
I was digging through an annual radio station record sale when I stumbled upon this. Not knowing who Phil Kraus was but taken in by the sleeve and the words D.J. Copy Not For Sale. I knew this was worth the dime I would be charged for it. And, wow, I'm glad I am ten cents poorer.
According to the notes on the back of the sleeve, Phil Kraus was born in 1918 and started playing xylophone at the age of 8. He went to Julliard on a scholarship in 1935 and upon graduation joined the staff band at WNEW. The group became known as The Five Shades of Blue and was a pioneer in the use of vibraphones. Phil spent the early days of television playing with Ted Steele, Morey Amsterdam, Martha Raye, Sid Caesar, Perry Como, Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan and others. He also recorded with Percy Faith, Hugo Winterhalter, Benny Goodman and others.
The biography is impressive, to be sure, but it hardly reflects what you are about to hear. On this promo ep, Kraus and band play an exotica that reminds me of early Martin Denny and the spookier sounding music of the Three Suns, with the dream-like quality you hear on Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch.