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Your Miami-bound snowbird grandparents weren’t the first Jews to embrace the mambo pace. Neither was Irving Fields, incidentally, though he’s probably the first person to lay down a fusion of Jewish rhythm and Cuban and Puerto Rican stylistics on wax. Idelsohn Society’s first release is a re-mastered version of the 1959 ground-breaking release, Bagels and Bongos, by the Irving Fields Trio. Using Latin music as an idiom of Jewish expression, a new language of a hybridized, flexible Jewish identity was born—and no one’s heard from the old language of hybridized, flexible Jewish identity since. Bagels and Bongos features classic reinterpretations of numbers like My Yiddishe Momme and Bei Mir Bist Du Shon, as well as the transformation of Hava Negillah into Havannah Negillah, bound to shake some tuchuses enough to seriously throw off a game of shuffleboard.
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