Edmundo Ros

Rare Broadcasts: 1960-1961

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If Edmundo Ros in the ‘50s was danceable, campy, kitschy, and fun, Ros in 1960 and 1961 could at times come across as delightfully "with it". Harlequin's Rare Broadcasts: 1960-1961, which is perfectly matched by Harlequin's other volume of Ros air shots from the same period ("It's Illegal, It's Immoral or It Makes You Fat"), is a marvelous 24-track collection of JFK-era treats which generally fall under the category of "mood music with a beat." From the get-go, "Umgawa" is deliberately laid over a rock & roll twist framework with judiciously applied electric guitar. A schnazzy, danceable, Latin jazz treatment of Jerome Kern's "Ol' Man River" has similar merit, along with the "Baion Guadami" and a flute-filled "Jungle Fantasy." There are just enough vocals in this mix to remind us that Ros was a very successful pop singer who also presided over a constantly morphing dance band that kept up with trends in popular music for more than three decades. Nevertheless, the best tracks in this particular spread are the instrumentals. In addition to a bracing Latin arrangement of Edwin Eugene Bagley's "National Emblem March" (a recording of which was cut in Paris by traditional jazz master Sidney Bechet in 1950), there are several very handsome, romantic dance numbers like Eddie Heywood, Jr.'s "Canadian Sunset," as well as the tidy musical aperitif "Cha Cha for Now."

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