Biography by Jason Ankeny
Although pianist and arranger Ted Auletta remains best remembered for his stints behind television bandleaders Lawrence Welk and Sammy Kaye, he also recorded a 1962 exotica LP that is much sought after by collectors. According to a profile featured on the spaceagepop.com website, Auletta was born in New York City on October 22, 1923, going on to study music at New York University, Juilliard, and the Manhattan School of Music. He served for a number of years as staff pianist and arranger for radio station WNEW, and went on to stints as musical director at such famed Big Apple nightspots as the Tavern on the Green, the Rainbow Grill, and the Americana Hotel. Auletta also spent three years leading the house band at the Hotel Lexington's Hawaiian Room, a Manhattan tiki bar that afforded him ample opportunity to explore the island textures and rhythms later documented on 1962's Exotica, a jungle-themed effort issued on the Cameo label -- while the album remains a favorite among exotica connoisseurs, Auletta's other LPs, including Dixieland Dandies, Honky Tonk Rag Pickers, and Magnificent Piano, are fairly undistinguished. In addition to television work alongside Welk and Kaye, Auletta was the musical director of the NBC summer variety series Showcase '68. In the years to follow he toured behind singers including Shirley Bassey, Jane Morgan, Julie Wilson, and Caterina Valente, but during an Irish trek with Carmel Quinn, he suffered a massive heart attack and died January 22, 1979, at the age of just 55.
Phil Bodner, as, fl; Frances Corsi, harp; Eddie Costa, vb, marimba; Ted Auletta, p, arr; Jack Lesberg, b; Danny Pucillo, Gary Chester, perc; Dennis Regor, bird-calls