|Our next Jazz Live San Diego is Tuesday with one of the pioneers of Latin Jazz, Mr. Bongo himself, Jack Costanzo IS OFFICIALLY SOLD OUT! He will be bringing his Latin Combustion Band in for a night of music you don't want to miss! LISTEN TO THE JAZZ LIVE PREVIEW, featuring excerpts from the biography of Jack Constanzo and music from his long career. Jazz 88.3 Members can MAKE YOUR RESERVATION FOR 2 FREE TICKETS in the Jazz 88.3 Speakeasy. Additional tickets can be purchased by calling 619-388-3743!|
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE for Links to Biographical information about Jack Costanzo and the music featured in the preview...
A composer, conductor and drummer, Costanzo is best known as a bongo player, and is nicknamed "Mr. Bongo". He visited Havana three times in the 1940s and learned to play Afro-Cuban rhythms on the bongos and congas. Costanzo started as a dancer, touring as a team with his wife before World War II. After his discharge from the Navy, he worked as a dance instructor at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Latin band leader Bobby Ramos heard Costanzo playing bongos in a jam session and offered him a job. Throughout the 1940s, Costanzo worked with several Latin bands, including a revived version of the Lecuona Cuban Boys, Desi Arnaz, and Rene Touzet. Costanzo toured with Stan Kenton from 1947–48 and occasionally in the 1950s, and played with Nat King Cole from 1949 to 1953.
Costanzo also excelled on the larger conga drums. The demand for his nimble percussive touch was so great that Nat “King” Cole put an ad in Down Beat magazine, stating that he wanted to hire Costanzo. Another musician, pretending to be the budding Mr. Bongo, took the job. The ruse was soon uncovered when Costanzo’s brother, Marty, went to hear Cole and asked if the singer/pianist had made contact yet with his in-demand sibling. Costanzo’s eyes dance with delight as, nearly 70 years later, he re-enacts that conversation. “Nat told Marty: ‘I hired him.’ And Marty said: ‘That’s not Jack!’ ”