It's the soundtrack of cocktail hour, a sacred time of martinis and cosmopolitans in 1950s America. Arrangers like Martin Denny, comedian Jackie Gleason, and exotica pioneer Les Baxter created music that toned down the bombast of Big Band and Swing, but still had enough complexity to challenge music lovers.
Revivalist Cocktail music provided the soundtrack for the dressed-to-kill in-crowd scene of the 1990s, flourishing in sophisticated cities like New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Cocktail is a throwback to the campy cultural moments of the '50s and '60s, borrowing heavily from the best-known Lounge and exotica records of that era. The sound mixes a heady dose of kitsch with drums, congas, analog synths, Latin rhythms, and sometimes soft, polished horns.