There are albums that are re-released for a number of reasons seemingly every day. Expanded editions, discs with new tracks on them, but very rarely is it that a deleted, long out of print album will see the ligh of day again. It probably will not happen in regards to Warren Zevon’s Terminus City or Neil Young’s Trans, but to see that there are individuals that will take it upon themselves to bring a vital part of cutting-edge music is very exciting in this era of cookie-cutter popstars and bland, mascaraed rock bands. Technically speaking, the transferal of the music from the original material is stunning. While the tracks on “Bagels and Bongos” are a slight bit on the quiet side, every bit of instrumentation is captured for the enjoyment of listeners young and old.
To consider that an album from over forty-five years ago was able to make such a stunning impact on audiences is to show the still-kicking vitality of Irving Fields (who even now plays in prestigious New York restaurants). The experimentation that Irving Fields does on tracks like “Havannah Negila” (which includes a piano riff on the traditional “Havah Nagilah”), infusing Jewish traditional music with Latin fire is something to experience instead of just read about. The tracks on “Bagels and Bongos” are all instrumental, allowing for the piano to take strategic sections of tracks like “Mazeltov Marengue” and transform them into some of the most emotive and compelling lines ever captured on any media. The perfection achieved by the drumming on “Belz” really is a monument to how talented the skin-slapper is; the resulting beat is so perfectly timed that it is hard to believe that any human could come up with them.
Later on during “Belz” runtime, the transformation of the arrangements from something somewhat tame and predictable into a more emotive and driven reality. “Miami Merengue” is lively while still having a tremendous amount of order; the nearest thing that I can compare the track to would have to be those inspired Mozart or Beethoven symphonies that use the most complex of rhythms and sounds to forever entrap their listeners like a fly in amber. After a few listeners to this CD, listeners will want to pick up some of Irving Field’s other albums, which do have wildly different themes (Polynesian music, amongst others). The fact that this album was allowed to go out of print shows a fundamental flaw with the music industry that would allow great albums to collect dust while trying to milk the youth of that day for whatever they have.
Top Tracks: Miami Merengue, Havannah Negila
The Irving Fields Trio – Bagels and Bongos / 2005 RebootStereophonic / 14 Tracks / http://www.rebootstereophonic.com / Reviewed 12 September 2005