Legendary Percussionist "Mr. Bongo" Jack Costanzo Joins Inside Latin Jazz With Danilo Lozano

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Inside Latin Jazz series continues with legendary American percussionist Jack Costanzo. Also known as "Mr. Bongo," Costanzo is credited with introducing the bongos to American Jazz music in the1950s. Moderated by Grammy Award-winning flautist and music professor Danilo Lozano, the program will offer a fascinating onstage interview and musical performance and will take place November 17 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts, 67060 Painter Ave, Whittier, CA 90608. The cost of admission is a food or cash donation benefiting the Inferfaith Food Center; donations will be accepted at the door. For more information call (562) 907-4203.

The forum for Inside Latin Jazz is small, allowing the audience to interact with the artist. "We want to create an environment where people can engage with the music and ask questions for themselves," adds Lozano.

This program is presented by the Whittier College Department of Music and Emerson Bran Management.

Bio — Jack Costanzo
The universal credit for introducing the bongo drums to American jazz is a title held by Jack Costanzo. Having spent time in Havana early in his life, he learned Afro-Cuban rhythms and is now considered to be one of the world's greatest percussionists on bongos and conga drums. In the 40's, during the early part of his career, he worked with a number of bands including those of Rene Touzet, Desi Arnaz, & The Lecuona Cuban Boys but his big break came in the year 1947 when jazz giant Stan Kenton brought him into his orchestra. His pioneering bongo work is heard on such Kenton classics as The Peanut Vendor, Cuban Carnival, Bongo Riff, and Abstruction. He subsequently collaborated with a number of artists including Nat King Cole, Peggy Lee, and Judy Garland. Costanzo has also made several television appearances on the Ed Sullivan show and appeared as an actor and musician in many motion pictures working with people such as Pat Boon and Elvis Presley. Today, 88 year-old Jack Costanzo has his own band and still continues to play "wherever the beat of Afro-Cuban music is needed."

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