Avant-garde pianist known as the father of exotica. He popularized Tiki culture songs.
He realized the croaking of bullfrogs near a Hawaiian resort at which he was playing could be incorporated neatly into his music.
His cover of Les Baxter's Quiet Village reached No. 2 on the charts, and his influence gave two other founders of exotica, Arthur Lyman and Julius Wechter, their starts.
He grew up in New York, his parents nurturing his talent for piano by enrolling him in lessons under Lester Spitz and Isadore Gorn when he was just 10.
He and Yma Sumac of The Peruvian Songbird both achieved prominence as exotica musicians.