Label : Zephyr Records
Mr. Bongo Has Brass shows all the signs of the Kenton influence, but the solo Costanzo is free to crank up the bongos far beyond his "Bongo Riff" moment with Kenton. The result is similar to "crime jazz" -- tightly arranged but very dramatic and suspenseful. Camp though it is, the sheer impact and tonal variety of the bongos make it easy to see why bongos had their own "craze," just like the ukulele and guitar. That said, the only really spectacular thing about this session is the sound. "Barney Google" ("Baia" with absurd lyrics), "El Diablito," and the crime/film noir classic "Man with the Golden Arm" are the best cuts. Among the other interesting cuts are a Latinate treatment of "Bei Mir Bist du Schoen" and "Burley-Q Bongo," a burlesque (the music of jazzmen on hard times). It is a great introduction to the many facets of Mr. Bongo.
Jack Costanzo - Mr. Bongo Has Brass (full album)
By Electric Looser