Irving Fields—composer, pianist and lover of life— died on August 20th at age 101. He thought he would live and be at the keyboard forever, as did his friends and fans. His performance portfolio ranged from concerts at Carnegie Hall to gigs at The Plaza, Miami Beach, the Catskills [Fallsview] and—amazingly—at the marble and gilt abode of Ivana and Donald Trump.
Songwriter and pianist Irving Fields has died at 101. Benjamin Ivry recalls Fields’ career, which blended Latin music with Yiddishkeit.
Irving Fields has been lighting up jazz lounges, speakeasies and bars for more than eight decades. The piano man explains how he’s still holding down a gig at the Park Lane Hotel as he nears his 100th birthday.
Boldface friends helped celebrate songwriter-pianist Irving Fields’s 98th birthday the other day. He’s still bopping to his hits like ‘Miami Beach Rumba’ and ‘Managua, Nicaragua.’
Maybe it was only a matter of time before Socalled, the frizzy-haired, klezmer hip-hop hipster, tried to sidestep his ever-expanding identity as a “Jewish artist.” The arbiters of Jewish cultural identity go to great lengths to rope in the eclectic and the original, and a klezmer hip-hopper is a no-brainer. But no one wants to be pigeonholed.
Here’s a delightful little clip that examines the meaning and roots of Hava Nagila as mythic folk tune, originally a wordless nigun of the Sadagora Hasidim, and reality as an artful 20th century pop-composition by seminal musicologist Avraham Zvi Idelson that somehow crept under our skin and into our consciousness until hardly anybody remembers anymore that it really is a 20th century composition. Which, alert readers recall, is what we call the Folk Process.