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Jack Costanzo

Born: 
09/24/1922
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Years Active: 
1940's-2000's
Instruments: 

A composer, conductor and drummer, Costanzo is best known as a bongo player, and is nicknamed "Mr. Bongo". He visited Havana three times in the 1940s and learned to play Afro-Cuban rhythms on the bongos and congas. Costanzo started as a dancer, touring as a team with his wife before World War II. After his discharge from the Navy, he worked as a dance instructor at the Beverly Hills Hotel, where Latin band leader Bobby Ramos listened to Costanzo playing bongos in a jam session and offered him a job. Costanzo formed his own band in the 1950s which recorded and toured internationally. Many Hollywood stars studied bongos with him, including: Marlon Brando, Rita Moreno, Carolyn Jones, Hugh O'Brien, Keenan Wynn, Van Johnson, Tony Curtis, Betty Grable, Vic Damone and Gary Cooper.