Carlos 'Patato' Valdez and Candido Camero

Candido Camero and Carlos "Patato" Valdez both call Cuba their homeland. In his early days, Candido worked the Cuban nightclubs and cabarets. Candido left for the United States before Patato, arriving on our shores in July of 1946. He began performing with the dance team, Carmen and Rolando. Candido pioneered the now common practice of playing several percussion instruments simultaneously. In the early 1950s, he was featured soloist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra and used three congas, a guiro mounted to the conga, and a cowbell played with a bass drum pedal.

Patato immigrated to the United States in 1952. He worked in New York's Tropicana with Conjunto Casino. His first foray into jazz was with pianist Billy Taylor in Philadelphia's Blue Note club. Later he appeared at New York's Apollo Theater with trumpet player Chip Murray.