Jack Costanzo has been a household musical presence since debuting with Bobby Ramos in the mid-1940s, taking subsequent calls from the Lecuona Cuban Boys, Desi Arnaz and Rene Touzet. He introduced the bongos to jazz with Stan Kenton in 1947, thus earning the nickname Mr. Bongo. Costanzo backed Nat King Cole, Slim Gaillard, Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee (among many others), appeared on screen with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lewis and Danny Kaye, and taught bongos to fans Marlon Brando, Gary Cooper, Tony Curtis, Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra. Producer Bobby Matos gets the most from Costanzo's smoking, tightly rehearsed ensemble. Standouts include the full-throttle "Descarga.com," the swinging Miles tribute "Milestones," the Sonny Rollins send-up "Airegin," the spare percussive experiment "Trompeta y Bongo," and fresh, energetic reworkings of Nat Adderley classics "Jive Samba" and "Work Song." Sassy upcoming singer Marilu fronts on "Quimbara," a pulsating take on the Celia Cruz original, a loping read of "Ņaņa Sere," the Arsenio Rodriguez standard, and "La La La," whose Jorge Camberos guitar solo invokes the fiery spirit of Santana. - Michael Stone
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