In April, 1954, while on one of his periodic recording trips to Hollywood, Herman Diaz, Jr., of RCA Victor's Artists and Repertoire staff, found himself rather routinely surveying prospective material with Perez Prado. During the conversation at which, by one of those odd quirks of fate, RCA Victor's jazz director, Jack Lewis, was also present and without attaching too much importance to it at the moment, Messrs. Diaz and Lewis suggested that, at least at some time in the future, Prado prepare an orchestral work that would depict the marriage of primitive rhythms to American jazza sort of tone poem in which the African, the mambo and the basic aspects of jazz would be united in such a way as to show their true relationship. As soon as the idea was formulated, Prado expressed a wild and uncontained enthusiasm so, amidst really frantic preparations, while Diaz and Lewis corralled the necessary musicians, Prado retired to write and arrange the music. Shorty Rogers was called in as a consultant, and twenty-four hours later, on April 8, everyone was back in the studio Prado had his manuscript, Diaz and Lewis had twenty-two musicians, and the recording commenced as though it had been planned for months.
The Voodoo Suite is the result of that now-historic session. Prado's score, which called for four saxes, six trumpets, three trombones, French horn, bass and seven drummers, required a greater personnel than that included in his own band, with the result that several of the West Coast's leading jazz musicians were hastily recruited, including practically every available drummer in the area.