Norrie Paramor
Jet Flight





A blue Pan Am jet and endless skies with beautiful cloudscapes: welcome to Norrie Paramor‘s Jet Flight, one out of his hundreds of records, conductions and contributions to the euphonious genre of orchestral music which – gasp! – people call Easy Listening nowadays. Heck, it is not even taken for granted to include this release in the Exotica genre, although the title of each track and the overall concept of traveling around the world in about 33 minutes makes it a suitable choice for this section, as Paramor tries to capture each country‘s stereotypical characteristics in each respective song. Every European cliché you can think of – whether you‘re an U.S. citizen, a European fellow or anywhere in-between – is in this album. So be prepared for a lot of schmaltz and sentimentality … and two gorgeous songs!


England – Holiday In London and France – Rainy Night In Paris are quick, bustling themes that blend very well together. And as you might expect, the only real difference between these two songs lies in the signature instruments: in England, flutes are the dominant force, while in France, the inevitable accordion can be heard, but the string sections are also much nicer, more cheerful and smoother in the latter. Anyway, Italy – Venetian Blue features two accordions, just in case one was not enough for you. The track is more laid back as if the listener is invited to imagine a romantic hike with a Venetian gondolier. And a nice honey, of course.


Spain – Barcelona features another accordion (is Europe full of these things?), but speeds things up by adding staccato castanets and melancholic yet excited strings. South Africa – Jumpin‘ Johannesburg is an interesting choice, as it completely undermines the listener‘s expectation of South African music. A dirty sax starts things off and the whole song is in 6/8 beats. Almost more Rock‘n Roll than orchestral work. Oh, and did I mention the accordions? Brazil – Brazilian Hangover consists of a hauling beat, a trumpet playing the main melody while the strings remain in the background or accompany the trumpet at best. Both songs are, I think, devoid of any clichés which make them also interesting from a music-related architectural point of view.


Hawaii – Honolulu Honeymoon … need I say more? Hawaii is one of the main reasons this website‘s section exists, for Exotica music has always been pinpointed to Hawaii from the viewpoint of the Western Hemisphere. So this song doesn‘t capture the essence of Hawaii but rather the imagination of common vacationing travelers shortly before the turn of the decade, but nonetheless features gorgeously mellow string sections and a marimba. The beginning of the song is fanfare-like, almost as if even Paramor arrived at his ultimate destination. One of the two highly recommended songs of this release.


The other one is Japan – Evening On Tokyo‘s Sumida, a tremendously laid back tune that right at the beginning starts things with a gurgling water stream that throughout the song does not vanish. Fortunately, there is also no Japanese instrument, for example the Koto, found in this song. I say fortunately because it makes the song work because of its beauty, not because of its title or context. It‘s decontextualized. The song is a quiet masterpiece with powerful and yet quiet strings that underpin its fragility. Simply a stunning piece. It‘s a pity that Mexico – Sunday At Chapultepec destroys the aforementioned mood with blasting trumpets. The song itself, however, is also a winner, it‘s just a complete change of pace, and not for the better, in my opinion. But isolated, the typical Mexican trumpets and orchestral strings do work well together.


So who is this rainbow-encircled LP for? Well, at first, it is for the collector, as to my knowledge, there isn‘t a digitally mastered release available anywhere at the time of writing this review and it is unlikely that there ever will be a corporate try in this regard, as Paramor released shedloads of music, the most of it much more prominent and sought after than this little gem. Anyway, even the music historian might find joy in this release: if you want a compressed synopsis of entertaining orchestral music that approaches the topic of incessantly growing tourism with a lot of strings, trumpets and one too many accordions, this album is also worth your while. And finally, the avid listener of Exotica music – who probably knew this album beforehand anyway – will enjoy this release nonetheless for its carefree attitude and the clash of clichés with surprisingly interesting omissions of instruments you would have imagined to be included by looking at the track titles. Wholeheartedly recommended for the aforementioned Hawaii and Japan cuts, and the rest of it can be thrown in for good measure, I'm d'accord.


Further reading:

The Synopsis of Norrie Paramor may be quite short, but worth a read nonetheless.


Exotica Review 005: Norrie Paramor – Jet Flight (1959). Originally published on Dec. 18, 2011 at