Tuesday, November 12, 2013

CD Review: The "Rhumba" Brings Together The Latin-Jewish Musical Community

If you need to put a little swing into your step, have I got the set for you. On November 16, the Idelshon Society will release "It's A Scream How Levine Does The Rhumba: The Latin-Jewish Musical Story 1940s-1980s." This two-disc set chronicles this rare combination of the two genres of music that has a history dating back to 1947 with the release of "Moe the Schmo Takes A Rhumba Lesson" by Irving Kaufman. While this first song may sound a bit comical, the music begins to grow on you as you continue to listen.
The instrumental movement of "Joe And Paul" from Pupi and his Orchestra is a great, laid-back lounge song, while the Al Gomez Orchestra begin to inject some Latin flair into the set with "Sheyn Vi Di Levone." The song that the set is named after is performed by Ruth Wallis who was known as the "Queen of the Party Song" in the 50s and 60s. The great Tito Puente and his Orchestra appear on the set featuring Abbe Lane on the fun, rhumba of "Pan, Amor Y Cha, Cha, Cha" and again with the smooth Latin instrumental "Grossinger's Cha Cha Cha," which was recorded live at a hotel ballroom in the Catskills. The first disc closes with the smooth sounds of jazz supplied by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd on "Desafinado" and the "pop princess" Little Eva singing "Uptown" written by Jewish songwriters Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann.
The second disc starts off with Ray Barretto's version of the 1960 Oscar-winning song "Exodus," in which he adds a bit of "Latin flair to the song. One of the most well-known jazz songs "Watermelon Man" gets a little more shake from Mongo Santamaria, while one of the most well-known voices of the early sixties Eydie Gorme lends her talents to "Sabor a Mi." The most well-known Jewish song "Hava Nageela" gets a little Latin boost from Celia Cruz, while the hit song from the musical "West Side Story" showcases the Cuban influence by La Lupe. Herb Albert & the Tijuana Brass close out the 60s section of this set with "Belz Mein Shetele Belz (My Home Town)." The music begins to get a little funky with music from The Ghetto Brothers and Pete Yellin, but one of the surprises on this set is the disco-sounding "Corazon" performed by pop-folk artist Carole King. The set closes with the only recording from the 80s, the full-on Latin-Rhumba of Yo Soy Lantino" by Larry Harllow.
This two-CD set is truly unique and shows another musical genre that sometimes gets overlooked. To find out more, please visit http://idelsohnsociety.com/music/its-a-scream-how-levine-does-the-rhumba-2/.

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