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The self-styled “percussion genius of Africa,” exotica-era enigma Chaino was actually born Leon Johnson in Philadelphia in 1927; elevated mainly in Chicago, the facts of his early existence are generally a secret, although sooner or later he learned to try out the bongos and started touring the so-called “chitlin” circuit of dark nightclubs. Through the middle-1950s he surfaced in LA, and with manufacturer Kirby Allan inserted the famed Silver Star studio room to record some otherworldly jungle exotica LPs; the very first, the 1958 Verve label discharge Jungle Mating Rhythms, highlighted not just a lurid fusion of African rhythms, primal chants and lusty moaning-and-groaning but additionally liner notes declaring “Chaino may be the just survivor of the lost race of individuals in the wilds from the jungle within a remote section of central Africa where few white guys have have you been…(he) could play seven or even more drums at exactly the same time, with this kind of blur of swiftness you could barely see his hands.” Within the a few months which implemented, Chaino released three even more albums — Jungle Echoes, Nights the Spectre and Africana — each for the different label; sometimes, he also proved helpful as a program musician, and also appeared in couple of feature movies, Nighttide as well as the Devil’s Hands. A notoriously tough and eccentric body, however, with time he and Allan parted methods, and Chaino’s actions over the years to follow stay unknown; using the resurgence appealing in exotica through the middle-1990s, his sibling George Johnson uncovered the percussionist’s whereabouts and briefly brought him back to Chicago. Chaino even so resumed his nomadic methods soon after; pursuing surgery to eliminate a human brain tumor, he experienced a fatal coronary attack on July 8, 1999.

Quick Facts

Full Name Chaino
Date Of Birth 1927
Died July 8, 1999, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Music Songs Ubangi Rock, Poko Cha Cha, Ceremonial Feast Dance, Rockin' Bird Bongo, Watusi Ceremonial Dance, Jungle Mood, Breathing Bongos, Bongos and Whistling, Bongo Stick Boogie, Swingin' Congo Bird, Toomba-Leeru, Sumac, Bongo Serenade, Torture of the Mau Mau, Jungle Love Chant, Walking Bongos, Swamp Girl, The Pigmy Song, Gua Gua, Gone Ape, Jungle Chase, Slave Girl, Bi La, The Spear Dance, Cumba See, African Jazz, Johannesburg Blues, Jungle Drums, Bim-Boo, Voodoo Trinidad, Afri Cuban, Rockin' Bongos
Albums Jungle Mating Rhythms (Original Album 1958), Nights of the Spectre (Original Album With Bonus Tracks 1957), The Spear Dance, Voodoo - Rare Ritual Sounds & Jazz Interpretations, Vol. 4, The Feast Dance, Highlights Of Chaino, Lost Canyon (Golden Classics), Jungle Echoes - The Best Of, Jungle Echoes EP (Original EP 1958)

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The Phantom 1961 TV Movie Chaino
Night Tide 1961 Head Bongo Player (uncredited)

Music Department

Music Department

Night Tide 1961 musician: bongos

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