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Purdue jazz unleashes “Mambomania” in Loeb Playhouse Oct. 19
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Mambo – an infectious dance blend of North American jazz and Cuban rhythms that turned normal music lovers into “Mambonicks” and unleashed a tidal wave of “Mambomania” in the 1950s – will fill Purdue’s Loeb Playhouse with energy when the American Music Repertory Ensemble and Lab Jazz Band present “Mambo Kings” on Friday, Oct. 19.
The concert, presented by Purdue Bands & Orchestra, starts at 8 p.m. Oct. 19 in Loeb Playhouse of the Purdue Stewart Center. Admission is free.
Director Mo Trout says the American Music Repertory Ensemble will not only look at the mania created by Perez Prado, considered to be the innovator of the mambo, but at the reactions to it. While “mambomania” was sweeping the county – pulling great crooners like Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney into its frenzy – many in the US Latino community thought Prado was catering too much to Anglo tastes.
That group favored the traditional, less “pop” sounds of musicians like Tito Puente whose music will also be represented on the concert.
Starting things off on Oct. 19, the Lab Jazz Band will offer a mix of jazz tunes ranging from “The Gentle Rain” by Luiz Bonfa to “A Night in Havana” by Victor Lopez and “Blue Bossa” by Kenny Dorham.
Then “Mambomania” breaks out when the American Music Repertory Ensemble takes the stage. The Mo Trout-directed big band with vocalists is dedicated to performing music by the greatest jazz composers of the 20th century and presenting it exactly as it was created.
Their set opens with “Mambo Jambo,” the tune that brought Perez Prado to the attention of US audiences. Already dubbed the “Glen Miller of Mexico,” the Cuban-born Prado had been recording mambo dance tunes in Mexico for several years when American band leader Sonny Burke covered Prado’s “Que rico el mambo.” It became a hit in the US under its new name, “Mambo Jambo,” an event that prompted Prado to tour the states with his new brand of dance music and led him to collaborations with major US performers.
Rosemary Clooney was one of those singers and the American Music Repertory Ensemble performs “Sway” from her 1960 Touch of Tabasco album with the Perez Prado Orchestra. Several tunes originally recorded by Helen O’Connell, former star singer with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, will be presented – “Time Was,” “Green Eyes” and “Amapola,” all from 1957.
Also riding the wave of interest in Latin music in the 1950s was Tito Puente who became internationally recognized for his contributions to Latin music as a bandleader, composer, arranger and percussionist. Often referred to as the “King of Latin Music,” his brand of classic salsa is generally free of dark undercurrents. Two Puente classics – “Oye Como Va” and “Ran Kan Kan” are on the program as well as a Puente arrangement of Paul Desmond’s popular “Take Five.”
“Mambo Kings” kicks off the jazz season at Purdue. The next concert features the Purdue Jazz Band in “The Jazz Soul of George Gershwin” on Oct. 26 as part of Purdue’s Homecoming festivities.
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