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A Listener's Guide

Bongos, Baby, Bongos!


If one instrument symbolized Space Age Pop at its height, it was the bongos. Just putting "Bongos" in your title guaranteed some hi-fi nut would buy it (vid. HiFi's packaging of Bob Florence's choice jazz band charts as Bongos/Reeds/Brass).

The End on Bongos, Jack Burger (HiFi)
Jack Burger put the bongos into the hands of many a would-be beatnik with this and its companion instructional record, Let's Play Bongos.

Bongo, Bongo, Bongo, Los Admiradores (Command)
Truth in advertising by this group, otherwise known as Terry Snyder and the All-Stars or Enoch Light and the Light Brigade.

Jazz Heat, Bongo Beat, Buddy Collette (Crown)
West Coast jazz sax/flute/clarinet man Collette cut this tasty slice of combo jazz. One of the few legitimate original recordings on Crown, but that doesn't mean it has any liner notes, either.

Bagels and Bongos, Irving Fields Trio (Decca)
Veteran cocktail pianist Fields adds bongos to his group to spice things up. Scores with listening public. Result: formula repeated on subsequent albums with "Pizza," "Champagne," "Bikinis," and "More Bagels."

Just Bongos, Phil Kraus and Bob Rosengarden (Time)
The perennial percussionist pair minces no words in titling this choice sample of Space Age Pop standards.

Bongos and Brass, Hugo Montenegro (Time)
A smokin' album. Hugo's pyrotechnical take on "In the Hall of the Mountain King" is among my all-time favorite Space Age Pop cuts.

Bongo Fever, Jack Costanzo (Liberty)
Costanzo's bongo work first gained notice during his long stint with Stan Kenton's band, soloing in many of the Latin numbers Kenton loved. A live recording by Costanzo's combo at the Garden of Allah nightclub in Hollywood. (Hmmm ... a Muslim bar. Nah, probably not real Muslims, just cool Muslims).

Bongo Madness, Don Ralke (MGM)
A variation on the above diagnosis by Costanzo. It's not well-known now, but the first experimentation with Prozac was aimed at curing this illness. Sadly, a glance at any CD store today will show that it worked.


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