Zephyr Records ZP 12003 G
|Diga Diga Doo
Bei Mir Bist du Schoen
Young Man with A Horn
Row Your Boat
Man with the Golden Arm
Mr. Bongo (Jack Costanzo, who else)
mounts his unique percussive sound in a
setting of swinging brass. And it takes all the brilliance of five trumpets to answer
the articulate and exciting rhythm patterns Jack Costanzo lays down.
For the most part the selections are jazz ... ranging in
content from the old round,
"Row Row, Row Your Boat," to the complexities of "Man with the Golden
In 'Mr. Bongo Has Brass," Jack Costanzo has
approached the material in two ways:
First, with Conga drum and timbales, plus one (claves, jawbone, or maracas) he lays
down the basic beat on which the trumpets, trombones and French horn ride. The
interpretation of "The Continental" typifies the approach. The tempo is
the growing intensity of the accent drives the pitch of excitement constantly higher.
The second approach is evident on numbers in the manner of
"Burley-Q Bongo" and
"Diga Diga Doo." Here the bongos are used as a solo rather than a rhythm
Despite the considered "tune-lessness" of the bongos, Jack Costanzo manages to
achieve a melodic quality. The skins howl like thwarted "G" strings. The result,
it mildly, is mighty moving.
The bongos have become the amateur musician's delight. Here at last is an
instrument on which he can express the rhythmic inspiration that's been pent up
within him for too long... Rumpus-rooms and back yards across the nation are
swinging to the enthusiastic bongo beats of the home-style musicians.
The one man most responsible for the growth
of this bongo craze is "Mister Bongo,"
Jack Costanzo. He was the first bongo drummer to join a jazz orchestra when, in
1947, he became part of the Stan Kenton organization. His musicianship was so
unique that Kenton had "Bongo Riff" written to feature Costanzo.
Since leaving the Kenton organization to work as a soloist, Jack Costanzo has
been featured with Nat Cole, Peggy Lee, and Francis Faye. He was featured with
Buddy Rich in the Betty Grable-Harry James show. He has been seen on such
unlikely programs as "Person to Person" with Ed Murrow and Marion Brando. He
has been a constant performer on "Shower of Stars," N.B.C. Spectaculars, the
Colgate Comedy Hour, the Red Skelton Show, the Perry Como Show and the Ed
As the bongos become an accepted, standard rhythm instrument, Jack
Costanzo's musicianship and virtuosity places him more firmly in the gallery of
contemporary jazz greats.