We are pleased to announce the track “La Mer Azure” from the Robert Drasnin album Voodoo III on Dionysus Records appears in the new Tom Hanks film, A Man Called Otto! Check it out in theaters through early 2023. The movie will be added to Netflix later in the year. Congratulations to the Drasnin family and Skip Heller who was responsible for putting together and polishing up Voodoo III after Robert passed, and many thanks to Ocean Park Music!
ROBERT DRASNIN – VOODOO III LP, CD, Digital officially released
Towards the end of Robert Drasnin‘s life – he set out to work on the third, and final, volume of Voodoo which he left unfinished. Drasnin had requested Skip Heller to complete his works and turn them into a releasable album. Skip finished Robert DrasninVoodoo III which was rushed out as a super limited release, sold only at Tiki Oasis 15 with a few leftovers sold through Dionysus Records Mail Order.
After numerous delays, including an entire pressing of records recalled to due to a manufacturing defect, the official release including remastered audio, extremely detailed liner notes by Skip, cover art by Claudette Barjoud, and package design by Bob Deck, is now officially released on LP, CD, and digital (available through iTunes, Amazon, and just about all streaming services). The first pressing of 500 LPs is on transparent blue vinyl.
You can order the LP and CD straight from Dionysus at these links. Search your digital provider for downloads and streams.
Robert Drasnin Voodoo III limited edition CD available now
Towards the end of Robert Drasnin‘s life – he set out to work on the third, and final, volume of Voodoowhich he left unfinished. Drasnin had requeseted Skip Heller to complete his works and turn them into a releasable album. 11 songs, plus one bonus were completed by Heller and Voodoo III was finished and rushed out just in time for Tiki Oasis 15 featuring cover art by Claudette Barjoud, designed by Thomas Kimball. The works encompasses all the elements that made Voodoo I and Voodoo II legendary entries in the world of exotica music. We have less than 40 copies of this Drasnin family produced disc currently. Please limit yourself to one copy unless purchasing for family or friends.
We with great sadness announce that the great Robert Drasnin passed away in the afternoon of 5/13/15, after about a year of failing health. He was 87 years old.
Bob is now mostly known for his two masterpiece exotica albums, Voodooand Voodoo 2, but those are only two highlights in a long and multifaceted career as a player, composer, executive, and teacher.
He joined the Musicians Union at the age of 14 upon being hired to play in the Canteen Kids big band on Hoagy Carmichael’s radio show. He first made his way as a player through the forties, playing alto saxophone and clarinet with a great many big bands, including Les Brown, Freddie Slack, Tommy Dorsey, and others. He studied composition and conducting at UCLA, joined a bebop era Red Norvo Quintet (with whom he recorded), and evolved into a film/tv composer and also a very well regarded sideman (on clarinet and alto saxophone).
As a television composer, he was prolific. Twilight Zone, Wild Wild West, Mission: Impossible, Man From U.N.C.L.E. all boasted great Drasnin scores, and such giants as Johnny Mandel and Jerry Goldsmith considered him an equal. Rightfully.
He eventually became the head of music for CBS television, until his position was eliminated (mostly because the vast majority of shows were made by outside production companies, not the network).
He took to teaching film/tv music, first at the Dick Grove School, then at the UCLA Extension, and he was an excellent teacher, beloved by his classes. I sat in on many of them, and he was inspired, inspiring, insightful, and generous with to everyone to whom he taught.
In the mid nineties, the resurgence of interest in exotica brought him back to public musicmaking. Unlike any of the other first generation exotics, Bob’s powers as a composer and conductor were undiminished. The 1996 reissue of his Tops Records 1959 gem Voodoo returned him to composing and playing. He played on a great many records of mine and toured in my jazz quartet (teaching me more about music than I can ever estimate in the process). He played on my music for Dexter’s Laboratory, Flintsones On The Rocks, Tilt: The Battle To Save Pinball, and theBernie Mac Show. And he was playing at least as well as he had in the fifties.
In 2007, he returned to the studio as composer and conductor with Voodoo 2, a record that did more that just pick up where the first one left off, but rather showed a greater, deepened command of composing and orchestration. It was cut almost entirely live in two days in an auditorium at Pierce College in the Valley. The cast of musicians was stellar, and his brilliance in those sessions was truly awesome to all who witnessed it. In 2008, he was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, an honor that meant the world to him.
There were a few exotica performances after that, but the last years of his life were devoted mostly to teaching. In many ways, his energy flagged as he went into his eighties, but not when it came to teaching. I saw him conduct pieces composed by his last group of students, and his energy as a conductor, his incredibly facile judgement as a music editor, and his unbelievable insight as a teacher served everyone in that room as a lesson on how a classy elder statesman gets the job done.
The last year or so of his life was a lot of health problems. He lived a healthy life — rarely drank, always ate smart, played tennis innto his late seventies — but he became increasingly frail in his last months.
Work was started on a Voodoo 3 (as many of you know). It is not as now releasable, and the family is going to need some time to deal with the immediate facts of his passing, so it would not be in good taste to start asking questions about when and if V3 will be released.
Bob is survived by his devoted wife Marlene and their three children, who loved him dearly. To say he was well-loved by his friends is an understatement. He was generous, insightful, funny, and ridiculously smart, and passionately concerned about the world around him. He’d also take your hand off at the wrist before he’d let you pick up at the check.
His legacy as a great Hollywood composer is huge. Less known but no less enduring is his incredible body of work as a teacher, which is ongoing in the work and methods of the composers he taught so well.