NYC lounge performer hits high ‘C’ — the century mark!
Most 100-year-olds don’t mark the milestone birthday with a news conference in a piano bar. Then again, Irving Fields isn’t most 100-year-olds.
Fields is one of New York City’s oldest lounge performers and still plays piano four nights a week at Nino’s Tuscany restaurant in Manhattan. Even though he gets around more slowly than he once did, he has no plans to stop playing and recording albums.
“I have a brand new one, it’s called ‘ 100 Years and Still Tickling the Ivories,’” he said at Friday’s gathering organized by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney.
Maloney said Fields, who she called a neighborhood institution, has “an energetic spirit and zeal for his work.”
Fields, best known for an album titled “Bagels and Bongos,” tapped into an interest for Latin music among the Jewish community in the 1950s and still takes request for such signature tunes as “Miami Beach Rhumba.”
The centenarian started performing in New York City in the 1920s.
Look up his name on YouTube and you will find a playlist of almost 200 videos of Fields playing music that evokes the feeling of a cocktail party in a sunken lounge room. He said he has sold more than 2 million albums.
Propped up on his piano stool by two cushions, Fields blew out the candles on his piano-shaped birthday cake Friday and said, “I can’t believe this, am I in heaven.”
His simple advice for staying young at heart: “Love what you do.”
Nino Selimas, left, and U.S. congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, second from right, present New York City’s oldest cabaret singer and piano player Irving Fields with a piano-shaped birthday cake during a 100th birthday celebration for him at Nino’s Tuscany restaurant in New York, Friday, Aug. 7.