"Mr. Bongo Plays Hi-Fi Cha
Cha" marks the most authentic presentation yet of the
passion, spirit and pulsating beat of the music native to Cuba. It possesses all the
rocking excitement of a Cuban dance with the powerful four-trumpet team shouting
joyously: the comple yet rock-steady rhythm section of bongos, congas, timbales,
string bass and piano; the happy, uninhibited vocal trios and soloists. The virtuoso
brilliance and unflagging beat of Jack "Mr. Bongo" Constanzo leads the orchestra
and singers through the exciting rhythms of Cuba.
From Havana to Hollywood the bongo beat is sweeping the
continent. Like economy
runs and TV spectaculars, bongo parties are developing into a revered Institution as
thousands of unrelenting tyros nurse sore fingers and aching wrists trying to make
the skins speak Cubano
For Jack Costanzo, bongo beating is like breathing. That
this analogy is honest is
borne out by his certain title, "Mr. Bongo". In this album, rousigly backed by
famous orchestra and vocalists, Mr. Bongo steps out, daring to bring into your home
the inflammable rhythms of Cuba.
Costanzo's professional laurels include many
"firsts". The handsome, thirtyish
Chicagoan was the first bongo drummer to work with a name jazz orchestra, joining
the exciting Stan Kenton organization in 1947 and working with Stan for two years.
His outstanding performance on the Kenton recordings of "Peanut Vendor,"
to Brazil" and "Bongo Riff" made the American public aware for the first
time of the
"little drums with the big sound".
Jack gained further fame when he augmented the Nat
"King" Cole Trio from February
1949 to September 1953, establishing him as the first bongoist to play with such a trio.
His recordings with the velvet-voiced Cole include "Calypso Blues", "Lush
"Strange," numbers which became standard repertoire in their tours of Europe,
Since 1954, Constanzo has been an integral part of the
acts of Peggy Lee and frantic
Frances Faye, with whom he recorded and appeared at lavish spots such as
Hollywood's Giro's, Las Vegas' Sands Hotel and the Fairmont in San Francisco.
Moreover, and just for the record, this young man with the heap big beat has appeared
in the top concert emporiums on both coasts - Carnegie Hall (with Kenton) and the
Hollywood Bowl (with La Lee}
No less extensive is Mr. Bongo's record in motion pictures
and television. Lucky man,
he's even worked with Manlyn Monroe "NO BUSINESS LIKE SHOW BUSINESS" and
Grace Kelly "TO CATCH A THIEF". There's no percentage in trying to count a top
show with music where Jack hasn't either sparked the studio orchestra or appeared
A brief rundown of his other musical credits reads like a
roster of Who's Who in
Bands - Ray Anthony, Rene Touzet, Xavier Cugat,
Lecuona Cuban Boys, Perez
Prado, Billy May, Charlie Barnet and aforementioned Stan Kenton.
Personalities - Desi Arnaz, Ima [sic] Sumac, Frank
Sinatra, Danny Kaye, and Gary
Also well known as a bongo and conga instructor, the
virtusoso numbers among his
past pupils some of Filmland's very brightest stars.
Constanzo's latest coup is a pact with 20th Century Fox
for a musical role in the
picture, "Bernardine". He has recorded sound tracks for many famous films,
being "The Story of Mankind" and Jerry Lewis' first movie as a single, "The
Ohio-born vocalist Marda Saxon is one of the very few
non-Latins to perform
successfully the authentic Cuban songs in this album. Originally a dancer with the
famous Afro-Cuban Sans Souci Troupe, Marda has been with the Costanzo Orchestra
since its organization in April 1956. She joined the band at its first location, Ben
Pollack's renowned restaurant on Hollywood's Sunset Strip, and has made personal
appearances and recordings with Mr. Bongo since that time. In this album she sings in
Jarochita, Silencio and Bonco.
The rich vocalizmgs of Kaskara have been entertaining
American fans of Cuban music
since 1945 when he first came to the U. S. Born in Holbuin, Orienre, Cuba, Kaskara
had worked primarily with the bands of Perez Prado and Rene Touzet prior to his
present association with the Costanzo Orchestra. He previously recorded with Touzet
and is here featured in the vocals of Jarochita; Que Dichoso Es; Nana Secre; Jack,
Jack, Jack, Quiere; Rabo E. Mula. Jack Costanzo appears through the courtesy of