Lounge music by definition: "is a retrospective description of music popular in the 50's and 60's encompassing the exotica, easy listening and space age pop genres. It is a type of mood music meant to evoke in the listeners the feeling of being in a place-a jungle, an island paradise, outer space, et cetera- other than where they are listening to it."


I like to think of the selections on my debut CD as contemporary lounge music with a twist. It's really listening music incorporating elements of SmoothJazz with dance grooves(a genre called NuJazz or Chill music) but with retro overtones. This is music to be a companion at your next 'modern' cocktail party or to just join you during your "quiet time" martini.


Adventures in the Modern Lounge is a collection of tunes that will groove you but also offer up some retro moments of a time gone by. Dig the Latin beats and percussion instruments that pulsate throughout. Float amongst the B3 organ, vibraphone or Fender Rhodes chordal progressions that lay the foundation of each ditty. Get lost in the deep vocal harmonies that color along the way. And of course, feel the love in the sax melodies.


Ric Cunningham: Adventures in the Modern Lounge


1.   Europa (4:50)

(written by Carlos Santana/Tom Coster,  arranged by Ric Cunningham) 

One of the greatest melodies made famous by Gato Barbieri's emotional rendition with his fiery tenor sax. I wanted to redraw the melody in a different portrait, a musical genre called Spy Music. What's a visit to retro cocktail land without a stop off in spyville. 

Whether it was James Bond as 007 or the Napoleon Solo in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., the music that drove these cinematic icons had a style of it's own.  These characters and shows/films in the 60's were the blueprint for the hip cosmopolitan bachelor and the soundtrack for the lifestyle. Don't you remember, or did I just date myself?


2.  Les Amis (3:45)

(written by Ric Cunningham, Music41)

A nice combination of a pleasant tropical beat with a catchy melody that you'll find yourself humming, long after the song ends. I play the baritone sax on this one, real up close and personal. You can almost see the palm trees swaying... It's time to kick back and cuddle up with your favorite libation and get involved in some deep reflection...or just zone out.


3.  Harlem Nocturne (4:38)

(written by Earle Hagen, arranged by Ric Cunningham)

This is one of the most recognizable and frequently recorded melodies to come out of the 40's(actually 1939) by a composer who penned many a TV show theme song(Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Spy, The Mod Squad). This song became the theme for the television series “”Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer”. I did a little update to this classic to bring this haunting melody to today's party. I love the simple, yet harmonically rich melody against the straight ahead swinging/driving groove.  Mix in the vocal and horn layers and you have a nicely balanced musical cocktail.


4.  Na Na La Cha Cha (3:59)

(written by Ric Cunningham, Music41)

Hip Hop - Cha-Cha anyone? 

As Latin rhythms and beats infused into pop music in the 50's, the fascination with the "exotic" hit the dance floor. Americans' love for the Latin dances(Cha-Cha, Rhumba, Samba, Salsa, Mambo) took over. One, two Cha Cha Cha. You don't have to get up and move to this infectious groove, but it's ok if you do. Watch out for the Bari sax...How low can you go?



5.  Jazzed (2:45)

(written by Ric Cunningham, Music41) 

This little ditty was originally penned in the '90's when I was writing TV and movie soundscapes in N.Y.C. Using loops and samples as the backdrop, I play some soprano sax over the top to create an active, chase scene atmosphere. 



6.  Sapphire & Tonic (5:08)

(written by Ric Cunningham, Music41) 

What would a retro Lounge collection be without a libation song. Not sure if the classic Gin and Tonic is actually an official cocktail(different points of view), but it's my beverage of choice as we speak. 

This toe tapper mixes a solid dance beat with a nice melodic vocal verse and hook that really incompasses the overall mission here: contemporary cocktail music.


7.  Powerhouse (2:46)

(written by Raymond Scott, arranged by Ric Cunningham) 

Here is a whimsical trip down memory lane with a spirited version of a tune made famous in several of the Warner Brothers cartoons. Most notably the theme for Marvin the Martian, a returning character in the Bugs Bunny cartoons.  That hypnotic, memorable bass line is the glue that holds it all together.  I added many mechanical sound effects to help recreate the "assembly line" feel.  Enjoy the Bari sax and vocals weaving in and out of the organized chaos, but cherish the calm at the end of the storm.


8.  Must be Dreamin' (4:45)

 (written by Ric Cunningham, Music41)

The bari sax states the verse melody and moves in and out of the vocal clouds letting the vocal hook just state the obvious. This is a late night selection that you can turn the lights down low and call it a day.