featured artist


Release date: 1955
Label: Bahamian Rhythms


1. Nassau By The Sea
2. Digby
3. Noise In The Market
4. Peas And Rice
5. Little Nassau
6. Nora
7. John B



Release date: Unknown
Label: FAMO


01. Madam Dracula
02. The Blue Cha CHa
03. Coconut Woman
04. Universal Meren
05. El Pachanguero
06. Belmont
07. Mambo Inn
08. Land Of The Sea And Sun
09. Jamaica Rhumba
10. Alone
11. Tom Cat Mambo
12. Mambo En Expana



Release date: 1956
Label: Bahamian Rhythms


01. Bay Street Road March
02. Bahama Lullaby
03. Matilda
04. Ugly Woman
05. Mango Walk
06. Pretty Woman
07. Junkanoo
08. A Matter Of Mind Over Matter
09. Caroline
10. Family Scandal
11. Two Timing Josephine
12. It Never Happened To Me



Release date: Unknown
Label: Unknown

01. Nassau By The Sea
02. Digby
03. Noise In The Market
04. Nora
05. Bimini Gal/The Crow
06. Peas And Rice
07. Nassau Nassau
08. Little Nassau
09. Come To The Caribbean
10. Food From The West Indies
11. Bahama Lullaby
12. Bay Street Road March
13. John B
14. Junkanoo



The Big Band era in the United States had a long hand. A hand that stretched across the Atlantic and touched one of ours, Freddie Munnings Jr. This island boy along with local and many of the ex-patriots that resided in these islands ruled the big band era in the Bahamas. Although thee were other great Big Bands, such as The Lou Adams Orchestra, The Rudy Williams Orchestra, and several others. Of them all, because of his entrepreneurial spirit, FM gained great prominence on the Bahamian music scene. Having had the formal training at The New England Conservatory, Freddie brought in new elements to the Bahamian Big Band Sound. Making full use of the traditional voicings used in jazz writing, FM introduced tensions that were not commonly found in the music of the Islands. Our music was traditionally I, IV, V progressions in basic triadic form, but FM had to change all that as you will hear in the following arrangements.

The use of Latin percussion instruments further enhanced the textures of his arrangements. With Cuban and Haitian musicians frequenting the Island, and the capability to tune in on foreign radio stations, FM wield his pen much like a painter with a blank canvas and colorful ideas. Not sharing himself out of the fun, FM frequently played the clarinet adding yet a texture much like the Benny Goodman Big Band that was popular in America. Lets take a listen to the Freddie Munnings Orchestra, Bahamian Big Band.

The first arrangement that we'll listen to is entitled "Universal Meren", a merengue groove for big band. The rhythm section moved along like a train on a track with the drum at the controls. The scraper is used much like the saw in our traditional rake 'n' scrape music, and the horns demonstrated fine agility with well crafted sax soli lines, brass kicks, and classic jazz voicings. The arrangements uses all of the standard formats such as background lines for soloist etc... listen and enjoy.


Click play to hear "Universal Meren"

This next song "Madam Dracula" has an even more West Indian feel to it. With FM as a featured soloist on the clarinet among others, the cowbell and scraper moves the song along with a very hypnotic feel. The chord progression in the introduction comprises of your standard I - I/III - IV - #IVo - I/V - VImin - IImin - V7 movement, while the main body of the tune uses a basic I, IV, V progression. This song in my opinion is a classic, one of our national treasures. The use of tensions within the harmonic structure is very tastefully done, and doesn't take away from the lazy island feel intended for this piece.

Click play to hear "Madam Dracula"

Freddie was a great interpreter of island songs, an all around musician. I this next tune he demonstrates the use effective use of the Big Band accompanying himself on vocals. This song is basically a vamp on chord I with an occasional modulation set up with the use of the V7 of the new key. Listen carefully for the use of the tension #11 in the horn background chordal structures.

Click play to hear "Noise In The Market"