Bongo Bop



Bongos were the instrument in the post-war years, before the guitar took over. At least in California, if you were a hip teen you worked on cars and played bongos. One memorable scene from "Bell, Book, and Candle" has Kim Novak complaining about the incessant bongos in her witches' and warlocks' beatnik nightclub. Bongos are a naturally hip instrument, associated as they are with jazz and Latin.

There were some fairly high-minded experiments with bongos in small, "beat" jazz combos. Mike Pacheco, formerly with Perez Prado, Sonny Burke, and Billy May, recorded with pianist Carl Perkins, Shelly Manne, and Carlos Vidal. (One of the finest Cuban conga players, Vidal worked with Stan Kenton, Charlie Barnet, Charlie Parker, Machito, Xavier Cugat, and Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All Stars.)

One word of caution: "bongo" sometimes was synonymous with "conga" in record promotion, so consider it "jazz with Latin percussion." Obviously, bongos were featured in countless other jazz recordings. In these few the music really revolves around and benefits from good bongo playing.


[Partly] Bongo-Bop LPs

Rating
8The Cannonball Adderley Quintet: Pyramid; Fantasy F-79455; 1974 ("Cannon Suite Part 1")
6Vico Anthony & his Percussion Paesanos: Percussion Italiano! ("Mambo Ravioli")
7"Haji Baba": Crazy Bongo; Modern MLP-7025 (bongo bop/Afro-Cuban/Latin jazz/flute; probably Buddy Collette & others; parent label of Crown, on which several similar LPs)
7The Bobee Jo Trio [at the Casbah]; Casbah DM-84548 ("By the Time I Get to Phoenix"; custom; bongo-bop/vibes/rock)
7Jack Burger: Let's Play Congas; HIFI SR-809 (congas/bongos/instruction/Latin jazz)
8Buck Clarke Quintet: Drum Sum; Argo LP-4007; 1960
8The Buck Clarke Sound; Argo LP-4021; 1961
6Rupert Clemendore/John Buddy Williams: Le Jazz Primitif; Cook 1082
8Rupert Clemendore: Le Jazz Trinidad; Cook 10850
->Jack Costanzo (particularly Bongo Fever--Jack Costanzo at the Garden of Allah)
6Latin All Stars: Jazz Heat Bongo Beat; Crown CST-5159/CLP-5159 (bongo bop/Latin jazz/flute; Eddie Cano, Buddy Collette, Tommy Tedesco, Larry Bunker, Tony Reyes, Carlos Mejia, Darias)
8Tony Crombie: Man from Interpol--Soundtrak from the NBC-TV Series; Top Rank RM-327 (partly Latin jazz, bongo bop, exotica, Hawaiian)
8Syd Dale: The Sounds of Syd Dale; KPM 1002; 1966 (production; crime/bongo bop/mod/biker)
7Dean Elliott: College Confidential ST; Chancellor CHLS-5016
7The Don Elliott Quintet; RCA Victor LJM-1007; 1954 ("Bingo, Bango, Bongo")
8Preston Epps: Bongola; Top Rank RM-349; 1961 (bongo/bongo bop/exotica/bongo rock; prod. Sonny Lester; stereo version exists; other Epps LPs & 45s listed elsewhere)
8King Errison w/the Lou Adams Orchestra: Drums of Nassau; Bahamian Rhythms BRH-52 (Latin jazz/bongo/conga/calypso jazz)
7Joe Harriott Quintet: Abstract; Capitol ST-10351
8Roy Harte/Milt Holland: Percussion Unabridged; Kimberly Jazz Series 2022 (w/the 3 Montgomery Brothers)
6Kenyon Hopkins: The Hustler ST; Kapp KS-3264 (crime/bongo bop)
6Ole Jensen & his Music; Chappell LPC-1040; 1970 (production/bongo bop/beatnik/spy/mod/flute/Tibetan)
8Arnie Lawrence, his Saxophone, & Strings: You're Gonna Hear from Me; Project 3 PR-5011-SD; 1966
8Henry Mancini: Touch of Evil ST; Varese Sarabande/Citadel CT-7016; 1980/1958 (complete version, replacing Citadel CT-6015, 1977; Challenge CHL-615, 1960; and Challenge CHL-602; 1959)
6Ninapinta & his Bongos & Congas: The Downtown Scene--Hits for the Hip; Decca DL-74711 (w/Willie Rodriguez)
8Mike Pacheco: Bongo Bop; Tampa TP-10 (w/Oscar Moore, Joe Comfort, Carl Perkins; red or black vinyl deep groove; reissued as Bongo Skins, same #)
7Mike Pacheco: Bongo Date; Tampa TP-30 (bongo solo)
7Mike Pacheco: Bongo Session; Tampa TP-21 (w/Carlos Vidal & Shelley Manne; abridged on Art Pepper/Shelley Manne: Pepper Manne; Charlie Parker PLP-836-S)
7Alberto Calderon/Mike Pacheco Sextet: Sabor Latino; Tropicana 1201 (Cuban/bongo bop; 1 side/6 tunes each; Los Angeles label)
8Rolley Polley: Mad Drums; Capitol ST-1454 (bongo/bongo bop/bongo rock/percussion/Latin jazz; "Rolley Polley" pseudonym for Pepe Dominguin)
[Quartette Tres Bien]
7Don Ralke: Bongo Madness; Crown CLP-5019 (bongo bop/Afro-Cuban/Latin jazz/flute/bongo; w/Jack Burger, Buddy Collette, Don Tosti, Tom Wofford; United-Superior US-7801)
8Rafael "Googie" René: Romesville; Class CSLP-5003; 1959
7The Rip Chords: Three Window Coupe; Columbia CS-9016 (hot rod/surf/bongo rock "Big Wednesday")
8Alan Swain Orchestra: Jazz Dance Session; Orion LP-101 (drums & bongo bop w/Bobby Christian, Maurie Laurie, Warren Kime; prod. Gus Giordano)
7Reg Tilsley/Tilsley Orchestral No. 8: Theme and Variation; De Wolfe DWLP-3174; 1970 (production/crime/spy; short cues)
7Mike Vickers: Brass Plus Moog; KPM 1111; 1972 (production/mod/crime/Moog/bongo)
7Carlos Vidal: Congo Drums; Tampa TP-32 (Latin jazz/bongo bop; w/Mike Pacheco, Shelly Manne, Robert Gil, Tony Rizzi, Tony Reyes; reissued as RS-1000)
7Larry Wilcox & his Orchestra: Hot Rod Jazz--Tuff Saxes & Twangy Guitars; CBS/Columbia CS-8947 (hot rod/mod/Mexicali/bongo/spy/samba/jazz)
9Uncredited 10"; Audio/Background Music Publishers BMP-134; 1968 (production; "Rhythm Tracks 1 & 2")
8Uncredited: [Production Music]; Robert Hall RH-104/105 (production; "Bongo Blues")
6Uncredited: [Theme Music]; Robert Hall RH-200/201 (production/bongo bop/surf/guitar)
6Various: An Odyssey of Immortal Jazz Performances; Tampa/Charlie Parker PLP-831-S (compilation)
8Various: Wild Stereo Drums; Capitol ST-1553 (compilation; essential cuts from Pepe Dominguin/Rolley Polley: Mad Drums, Les Baxter's Teen Drums, Dick Harrell: Drums & More Drums)

Bongo-Bop 45s & EPs

Rating
9[Billy Larkin &] The Delegates: Pygmy Parts 1 & 2; Aura 4504 (bongo-mod-soul)
7The Don Elliott Quintet; RCA Victor EJC-1007; 1954 (same as LP LJM-1007; "Bingo, Bango, Bongo")
9Preston Epps: Bongola/Blue Bongo; Top Rank TR-2067X (Top Rank RA-2067; other Epps LPs & 45s listed elsewhere)


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