People always ask me how I hear about the music I listen to - here is the story behind Jack Costanzo. A few months ago, I ordered a vinyl LP compilation of 60's / 70's funk from SF-based Luv N' Haight records. Unfortunately, they accidentally sent me two copies of compilation, but charged me for one. I happened to be up in San Francisco a few weeks later, and walked over to their office to return the extra copy - in return, despite my insistence that they didn't need to do anything in return, they kindly gave me a few things from the overstock pile, among them a new album by bongo master Jack Costanzo called "Back From Havana". In addition to putting out really great music, the folks at Ubiquity Records are really nice folks.
As it turns out, Jack Costanzo's resume reads like a history of jazz - over the years (starting in the 1940s), he has worked with Desi Arnaz, Stan Kenton, Nat King Cole, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Bud Powell, Art Pepper, Frank Sinatra, and Ella Fitzgerald, among oodles of others. Unfortunately, while much of his credited work with others is readily available, many of his own records appear to be out of print. A shame, as "Back From Havana", which came out this year, is a fiery slab of Cuban-style latin jazz which Mr. Bongo cooked up with the help of a stellar array of brass, sax, piano, and rhythm accompaniment - including percussionist Bobby Matos - and the occasional vocals from "Marilu", which are usually spot on, but seemed a bit distracting once or twice. I think I may poke around eBay to find out what his old albums sound like...
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