It’s been a fun Family Day visiting with the Fam Jam and surviving (barely) 3,000+ people all crammed into a small auditorium with inflatable bouncy castles and indoor Laser Tag and cupcakes. The cupcakes were nice, but the hyperventilating every time someone rammed a baby carriage into your shins or elbowed you in the ribs to get to the face painting booth, well, not so much. But, again, we survived and no one died. Now, I’m relaxing around the house for the evening with another one of my Record Fair purchases, the ‘Pizza and Bongos‘ album by the Irving Fields Trio.
Don’t judge me.
You’re jealous…I know.
Seriously, just look how happy the babe is on the front cover. It’s like she’s dancing right out of Tony Soprano’s grandmother’s kitchen.
This 1961 release (Decca Records) is the epitome of “Bachelor Pad” Exotica music of which, I am really beginning to enjoy.
Again, don’t judge me.
I mean, it has pizza and bongos.
Need I say more?
Without panning this release prematurely – since it offers a deliberately lightweight taste of Italy and is less keen on a complex interactivity – there is actually a surprising comment to make in terms of its arrangement-related style: the bongos are used on each and every piece, and while they are usually less inspirational, they do offer a curiously wondrous transformation. It actually turns out that the Italian mannerisms and clichés are turned into proper Latinisms due to the bongos! All of a sudden, Irving Fields’ melancholic and sunnier piano chords seem to come straight out of Panama or Costa Rica rather than Venice or Capri. This shape-shifting curiosity works to the album’s advantage and leads to an increasingly interesting chain of aural events.
Exotica and Latin fans will potentially rejoice, and devotees of these Italian themes ought to see their beloved compositions in a new light.