Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Bongo King - Introducing Miami's Latin Surf Sensationdotdotdotdot
artworkBongo King is the linear descendent of the sadly short lived Category5, founded in 1996 by drummer Kevin Baetz with Jan Press (ex-Surf Piranhas) on guitar. Dennis Rico - guitar and Mario Palacios - bass fill out the band. Shortly after Category5's demise, Baetz set about forming a new band with a different focus. By 1997, they were playing live. By '98, they began recording. New is an understatement. Bongo King is charting entirely new territory. Great Latin percussion that immediately brought fifties Village Gate recordings to mind is set against surf guitar, and held together by smooth fluid bass. This is the freshest sound I've heard in a while, and it's very interesting and friendly. This advance peak into their planned CD release this year is awesome.
Picks: Salsa Safari, Big Gun Shoot Out, El Conquistador, M'Chango, Prisoner in Paradise

Track by Track Review


Salsa Safari dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Wow... what an interesting concept this is! Latin percussion that has been captured with the sound of a Herbie Mann at the village gate jazz album, excellent fluid surf guitar with a tad of delay, and thumpin' solid bass. This is simply the freshest thing I've heard in a long time.

Big Gun Shoot Out dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a hint of spaghetti western, surf tone, and that marvelous percussion, this track oozes a blend of spies and meanness, while rolling out with a fluid melody line. It's very exotic, and it has quite a bit of power. Again, a fresh new sound. Excellent!

El Conquistador dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"El Conquistador" is a mid tempo number with a real sense of the romanticized Spanish adventure in the Americas. It's a stunning piece of music, fit for a film score. Warm, somewhat sad, exotic, fluid, and great listening.

M'Chango dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Yikes! "M'Chango"'s blend of village jazz percussion sound and double picked Spanish surf guitar is simply essential listening. The contrast between the then and now and the percussion and the surf are held together by the solid round bass. This is a marvelous track.

Prisoner in Paradise dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very sultry, shimmering guitar, moody images, percussional tribal adventure, and the smell of the palms at the sea shore... very smooth and enjoyable.