Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Irving Fields, Miami Beach Rhumba Composer, Still Entertaining with Hava Nagila at Age 96


Sixty-five years ago, Composer/Songwriter and legendary lounge performer Irving Fields, wrote his first big hit song, Miami Beach Rhumba. It sold two million copies. Now, 80 albums later at age 96, Fields has a new hit that he composed for YouTube. What's it called? YouTube Dot Com, of course.

Irving Fields was born Isadore Schwartz on August 4, 1915 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He began playing the piano at the age of 8. At the age of 15, he won the Fred Allen Radio Amateur Hour and was given a week engagement at the Roxy Theater. 

He attended the Eastman School of Music and while working on a cruise chip to San Juan, he became hooked on Latin rhythms. While in the army, he performed in the Special Services. He was signed to RCA as the Irving Campos Trio (Campos means “Fields” in Spanish) and began a prolific recording career -- his 80 albums include Bagels and Bongos, Champagne and Bongos, and Bikinis and Bongos. 

Irving has played at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall, the London Palladium, the Roxy Theater, and the Eddie Cantor show in Las Vegas, and has appeared on the Milton Berle, Kate Smith, and Jackie Gleason shows. 

The Idelsohn Society for Music Preservation released his “Bagels and Bongos” in 2005. Irving has played at Joe’s Pub in NYC, the Mazeltov, Mis Amigos show at Lincoln Center, and the Jews on Vinyl Revue at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco. 

In the 60s, he returned to New York to begin a solo lounge career, including at 16 year stint at the Sheraton and 8 years at the Plaza and continued to release numerous recordings. Irving still plays at Nino’s Tuscany in New York five days a week and is always composing new songs.

Here are some classic Irving Fields videos: The original Miami Beach Rhumba with his trio, playing a rousing version of Hava Nagila at Nino's Tuscany restaurant, the debut of You Tube Dot Com with musician Josh Dolgin, and a clip from the Idelsohn Society Digital Archive with Fields revealing his secrets of longevity.  Enjoy!

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)




5 comments:

  1. He is the best--we saw him play the condos in Ft lauderdale years ago and he has not lost a step!!!

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    1. I recall seeing Irving play when I was in Jr. high School. I am now 78 years old

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  2. My company is publishing his autobiography in a couple months, written by Huffington Post columnist Tony Sachs with Irving. Editing is done & we're a step closer on this 7 year project! Updates at www.romanmidnightmusic.org

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  3. I met Irving and his wife, Ruth, when he was the lounge pianist at the Fallsview Hotel, im the Catskills. He was and still is a great talent. We shared meals and companionship for a few years and I remember them fondly. He loved to hear jokes and wwould laugh uproarilessly. We made fun of his joke telling and that would make him laugh as well. There are plenty of anechdotes about the wonderfull Irving Fields.

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