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Carlos “Patato” Valdes

Carlos “Patato” Valdes was the most influential conguero of his era. Furthermore to his unrivaled rhythmic and melodic sensibilities, he also developed the tunable conga, practically reinventing the device along the way. Valdes was created November 4, 1926 in Havana, where his dad played electric guitar with regional group Los Apaches. A kid prodigy, he learned some instruments and started playing appropriately as a teenager, generating the lifelong nickname “Patato” for his diminutive stature. At 12, Valdes began monitoring congas under regional story La Sultana, honing a melodic flair that quickly arranged him aside from his peers. In 1946, he changed the ailing Valentin Cane in the group La Sonora Matancera, and a 12 months later authorized on with Alberto Ruíz. In 1952 Valdes 1st visited NEW YORK on tour with Conjunto Gambling establishment, and returned once and for all two years later on — another soon-to-be famous conguero, Mongo Santamaria, suggested him to bandleader Tito Puente, and Valdes quickly emerged among the orchestra’s leading attractions. An excellent, indefatigable showman, Valdes in some way were able to dance together with his congas in the center of shows, but he continued to be most renowned for his instrumental virtuosity. His 1st studio program, trumpeter Kenny Dorham’s 1955 traditional Afro-Cuban, vaulted him towards the frontlines from the Latin jazz motion, as well as the Puente LPs Cuban Carnaval and Puente in Percussion additional boosted his profile. He actually trained Brigitte Bardot the mambo in Roger Vadim’s cult traditional 1956 film And God Produced Woman. By enough time Vadim’s film strike theaters, Valdes was an associate of bandleader Machito’s important Latin jazz orchestra; suggested to Machito by musical movie director Mario Bauzá, he continued to be in the lineup for five years. Some of his peers relied using one or two congas, as time passes Valdes extended his arsenal to add three as well as four drums, allowing a wider selection of shades. He reached his biggest fame throughout a decade-long association with flautist Herbie Mann, showing up on best-selling LPs including Flautista!, AT THIS TIME, and The Defeat Goes On. Through the ’60s, he also lower sessions to get guitarist Offer Green, vibist Cal Tjader and tenorist Charlie Rouse. Just in 1967 do Valdes finally business lead his own program, teaming with co-headliner and vocalist Eugene “Totico” Arango (a years as a child friend from Havana) for the landmark Patato & Totíco, a groundbreaking rhumba time that abandoned the original formulation of vocals and drums to include efforts from guitarist Arsenio Rodríguez and bassist Israel “Cachao” López. The record demonstrated a turning stage in Latin jazz background: “I had fashioned these suggestions and wished to progress them through jazz,” Valdes stated inside a 1997 interview using the publication Latin Defeat. “I needed something intensifying.” Regardless of the session’s crucial acclaim Valdes led valuable few subsequent times, waiting ten years to concern a follow-up, the 1977 Latin Percussion label work Prepared for Freddy. Valdes started focusing on tunable conga prototypes as soon as the past due ’40s. Up compared to that period, the drums had been tuned by heating system them more than a source of temperature, typically a Sterno can. Through the middle-’50s he befriended mechanised engineer and professional photographer Martin Cohen, a Latin jazz buff and regular at Mann’s Mon night jam classes in the famed NEW YORK jazz golf club Birdland — when Cohen founded the device manufacturing company Latin Percussion, he and Valdes collaborated within the pioneering LP Patato Model Congas, tunable fiberglass drums significant for his or her wide bellies and little bottoms. First released commercially in 1978, the congas are actually an industry regular. After liberating his third LP Masterpiece in 1984, Valdes liked his biggest mainstream stage ever when he made an appearance alongside Puente and jazz greats Artwork Blakey, Jimmy Heath, and Slip Hampton inside a 1986 bout of the strike NBC sitcom The Cosby Display. Five years later on, he also made an appearance on the silver screen in The Mambo Kings. Through the ’90s he fronted the music group Afrojazzia, and in 1995 documented the to begin two albums in the series Ritmo con Candela, using the follow-up showing up a year later on. Both periods received Grammy nominations in the nascent Latin Jazz category. Valdes continuing touring into his 80s, by the end of his lifestyle leading the Conga Kings, an organization including percussionists Giovanni Hidalgo and Candido Cameró, the last mentioned a fellow octogenarian. Valdes passed away of respiratory failing on Dec 4, 2007, a month past his 81st birthday.

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