“After nearly 50 years hiding away in a vault, it is a real testament to the power of music and the story behind it that this album
can still power up the charts.” Exclaims Co-Founder Roger Bennett
NPR : http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112122180
MTVu “The Feed” : http://www.mtvu.com/on-campus/on-campus-featured-content/the-feed-mazeltov-mis-amigos/
Jewish Weekly : http://www.jweekly.com/blog/full/39588/mazel-tov-mis-amigos/
Time Out New York : http://newyork.timeout.com/events/music/298900/4131737/mazel-tov-mis-amigos
NPR WYNC : http://blogs.wnyc.org/culture/2009/08/25/mazel-tov-mis-amigos-a-primer/
New York Post : http://www.nypost.com/seven/08182009/entertainment/music/oy__caramba__185192.htm
AOL/ SPINNER : http://www.spinner.com/2009/08/11/jewish-mambos-and-yiddish-cha-chas-thats-meshugenah/
MAZELTOV MIS AMIGOS distributed by Nail and Ioda) features 11 tracks, accompanied by Josh Kunâ€™s extensive liner notes and a gallery of images from archives across the country which have to be seen to be believed.
The Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation (www.idelsohnsociety.com), the acclaimed non-profit organization committed to exhuming lost music from America’s attics, is proud to announce it has acquired an extensive back catalog from Orrin Keepnews’ legendary Riverside Label, which featured some of the greatest names in Jazz from the 50s and 60s. Their first re-issue, MAZELTOV MIS AMIGOS (to be released August 11th) interprets classics from the Yiddish theater through the leading Latin dance styles of the 50s and 60s.
MAZELTOV MIS AMIGOS, digitally remastered for the first time by Fantasy Studio engineer Joe Tarintino, opens a time capsule to one of New York musical historyâ€™s great lost stories, the story of the Jewish Latin craze. When the entire country caught Mambo-mania in 1948, Jews religiously became the genreâ€™s earliest adopters. Humorist Harry Golden once said that the history of Jews in America is the history of â€œsha shaâ€(Yiddish for hush hush) becoming â€œcha cha.â€ And he was onto something. This album comes on the heels of comic Irving Kaufman unleashing â€œMoe the Schmo Takes a Rhumba Lesson,â€ Irving Fields attacking with his â€œHavana Nagila,â€ bawdy balladeer Ruth Wallis declaring â€œItâ€™s A Scream How Levine Does The Rhumba,â€ and Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente capturing the Jewish musical imagination at the Palladium, Grossingers and the Concord.
MAZELTOV MIS AMIGOS is the latest production from The Idelsohn Society, a team of 21st century music fiends turned musical archeologists, dedicated to digging up forgotten American Jewish pop. According to co-founder, Courtney Holt, “the track â€œO Mommeâ€ sounds like a a comparsa conga band setting out on a parade that turns into a Jewish wedding march.”
Among the other startling revelations on MAZELTOV MIS AMIGOS is â€œPapirossen,â€ Herman Yablokoffâ€™s classic Yiddish Theater ode to an orphaned cigarette peddler, done here in pure dance floor frolic as a blazing, quick-step mambo. Says Idelsohn co-founder Josh Kun, â€œItâ€™s a dramatic example of how Jewish and Latin musical traditions spoke to each other in the mix-up of American culture. This is the sound of the secret musical history that shows that the boundaries between communities we think are so rigid are actually porous.â€
It’s all part of The Idelsohn Society mission. Founded by a quartet of academics and music industry veterans, the label’s goal is to incite a new conversation about the present by listening anew to the past. They do it by unearthing lost classics from the archive, sounds that are languishing in thrift-store crates across the nation, as well as by building an archive of the stories and musicians that accompany them, and producing a series of sold-out concerts across the nation featuring the original performers, many now in their eighties and nineties.
The relationship with Riverside will allow this mission to grow exponentially. According to co-founder David Katznelson, who brokered the deal with Riverside, â€œThe ability to rescue a certain strain of releases from the label that brought us Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane is immense for us and highlights our overall mission. I am so thankful that we have found these recordings and the folks at Riverside/Concord (Concord owns the catalog) have been so generous to let us bring them to the publicâ€™s eye.â€
MAZELTOV MIS AMIGOS is set for release August 11th (distributed by Nail and Ioda) it features 11 tracks, accompanied by Josh Kunâ€™s extensive liner notes and a gallery of images from archives across the country which have to be seen to be believed.
The entire album will be replayed in in its entirety for ONE NIGHT ONLY at the Lincoln Center this summer, with an eclectic line-up including Arturo O’Farrill and His Afro-Cuban Sextet, Larry Harlow, The Antibalas Horns and others.
Liner Notes By Josh Kun
This 1961 Riverside Records album by Juan Calle and His Latin Lantzmen, Mazel Tov Mis Amigos, is one of the greatest ruses of 20th Century American pop music, a forgotten masterpiece of cross-cultural disguise and masquerade.
So letâ€™s get the reveal out of the way. Neither Juan Calle nor his Latin Lantzmen were actually Lantzmen, and only some of them were actually Latin. Juan Calle was John Cali, an Italian-American banjo picker and radio veteran best known for his work with the Vincent Lopez Orchestra and a string of solo banjo outings. His Latin Lantzmen included some of the biggest names in 50s and 60s Latin music– conguero Ray Barretto, timbales guru Wilie Rodriguez, pianist Charlie Palmieri– playing alongside African-American jazz greats Clark Terry, Doc Cheatham, Lou Oles, and Wendell Marshall. The sole Lantzmen were Yiddish vocalist Ed Powell, who appeared in the 1957 Ziegfield Follies but whose credits mostly seem to point to steady work as Riversideâ€™s in-house engineer, and reed multi-tasker Shelley Russell, such a Lantzmen that, as the original liner notes told it, his background included â€œplaying at many a Jewish wedding.â€
It’s become something of a truism that the history of Jews in American popular music is a history of masquerade. From Leiber and Stoller writing songs as if they were black men and women to Bob Dylanâ€™s Woody Guthrie and born-again-Christian masks, from black-face minstresly to gentile- face minstresly, from Milton Mesirow becoming Mezz Mezzrow to Alfred Levy becoming Alfredito, from Irving Berlin and George Gershwin dreaming up plantation fantasies of a mythical South or urban romance on Catfish Row, passing and disguise have long been key aesthetic weapons of the Jewish musical arsenal. Itâ€™s safe to be like the others,â€ Woody Allenâ€™s big screen uber-chameleon Leonard Zelig famously said on his therapistâ€™s couch, â€œI want to be liked.â€ Without Jews playing non-Jewish music, without Jews assimilating into the sound cultures of Latino and African American life, without Jews becoming musical Zeligs, it’s hard to imagine what American pop would sound like.