Comparsa is a Cuban term used to describe a conga band heard at Carnaval, usually performing on a mobile, decorated "carrosa" which is preceded by dancers. This type of procession traces directly back to the cultures of western Africa. La Comparsa is also the name of Volume 5 in Harlequin's collected early works of Edmundo Ros. Its title track is one of three melodies by Cuban maestro Ernesto Lecuona, which is among the finer performances in this portion of the Ros discography. In addition to Lecuona's "Jungle Drums" and "Maria la O," Ros & His Rumba Band perform a pleasing selection of dance and mood pieces, such as "Paraquedista,", "Batuque No Morro," "La Paloma," "La Golondrina," "La Borrachita," and the "Jungle Rumba." Ros began making records in 1941. After his contract with Parlophone expired, he and his group backed Hammond organist Ethel Smith on her records, and this eventually helped him to get established as an exclusive Decca artist. In 1948, the year that everything on this collection was recorded, the Ros Rumba Band accompanied Carmen Miranda in live performance at the London Palladium. Ros, who had been recording steadily since 1944, had become adept at putting across easygoing popular songs. Humorous performances included in this album are "Money, Money, Money," "Relatives, Relatives," "No Money," "It's Easy When You Know How," "Mañana (Is Soon Enough for Me)," and the tongue-in-cheek "Walter Thornton Rumba." For the next quarter century, Ros would succeed both as leader of a stylistically malleable Britain-based Latin American dance band, and as a dashing vocalist who made a point of interpreting mainstream pop tunes as soon as they cropped up. "The Big Brass Band from Brazil," for example, was familiar to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic through records by Art Mooney's Orchestra as well as Danny Kaye and the Andrews Sisters. Ros was well aware that the song was currently being performed in the Broadway musical Angels in the Wings. His shrewd ability to seize upon hits while they were still hot would serve him well until he retired from active bandleading in 1975.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by arwulf arwulf