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Recently Airto was in the town for the Modern Drummer Festival and he stopped by the LP studio for an interview and to record some great percussion tracks.
Don Alias was first photographed by me in 1973. It was a time when Don's career choice was in question. Since he ws a kid in Harlem, NYC, he was deeply into the culture of hand drumming. Yet, he also pursued a career in medical science. To support his family, he quit his business of music more than once. Through perseverence and some lucky breaks, Don moved into the winner's circle of rhythm as a means of making a living. Listen to Don tell of two of these pivotal experiences.
Cindy Blackman stopped by th LP® photo studio for her first photo session and to talk about her varied and interesting career. She notes that her greatest love is jazz music. She has several recordings out as a leader, as well as an instuctional video. Listen to what this master had to say to me about her career.
Edwin Bonilla is the all-around percussionist for a woman who's short listed as one of the world's most acclaimed Latin artists ever, Gloria Estefan. But when he was growing up in New Jersey, it was Motown, not Latin, he listened to. Listen to Edwin tell his story.
Richie Bonilla has been in the music management business for 38 years. He has most recently specialized in bringing Latin acts to Japan and Japanese bands to the United State and elsewhere in the world. He has had occasion recently to bring Patato to Mexico to accompany Cachao. Here is an amusing story of this trip.
Pucho Brown discussed with me his recent successes at 4 West Coast night clubs which included The Conga Room, The Elbow Room and Mr. E's. Listen to this old timer tell of his growing base of fans throughout the world.
Candido Camero is one of my greatest inspirations. There is no denying that Candido's early recorded work with jazz pianist Billy Taylor had an important effect in shaping my career. I hope I am blessed with the same productive long life as this legend. Listen to Candido talk about his career in an interview he and Patato did while visiting the LP® studios.
Edmar Castañeda, a harpist from Columbia, visited the LP® studio to share his story and his music with us. Listen to Edmar discuss his unique style of palying a left-hand bass accompaniment to his right-hand melody and what his plans are for his future in the music industry.
Wilson "Chembo" Corniel began playing congas, bongos and bata at the age of 12 and is well versed at playing Latin jazz and salsa. In addition to recording and touring with Larry Harlow's Latin Legends band, Chembo has worked with Tito Puente, Bobby Sanabria and Ascension and Chuch Valdez. Listen to Chembo discuss his career.
Bobby Cruz, legendary Salsa musician, speaks with me about his career with longtime partner Richie Rey and his association with his church in Miami, Fl.
Paquito D'Rivera was a child prodigy who at a very early age was playing clarinet and saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. Paquito's music has many influences reflected in it. He has received rave reviews throughout his career, which has taken him all over the world. He is well known for his compositions as well as for his live performances. Listen to Paquito discuss his career and perform exclusively for congahead.com.
Jimmy Delgado and I have known eachother since 1978, when he recorded on the Luis "Perico" Ortiz album, My Own Image. At that time he worked with many of the top bands in New York. Currently working with Harry Belefonte, listen to Jimmy reflect on his varied career.
Thomas Dyani-Akuro was born in Copenhagen of a Danish mother and Nigerian father. He developed his percussion career in Denmark and around 1990, emigrated to the UK for work opportunities. He would have come to the States (New York, more specifically, if he could have gotten a green card). When I caught up with Thomas by phone, he just arrived from an overnight trip on a Incognito's tour bus. During this interview he talked about growing up with step father, South African bassist, Johnny Dyani who had a big musical influence on him. This is what he had to say to me.
Richie Garcia spoke with me after the Latin Grammy Awards in Los Angeles about his career performing and giving educational lectures.
Sergio George is a musician/producer/composer, who has had a profound effect on the music industry. Listen to him tell his story.
Percussionist, Giovanni Hidalgo and saxophonist, Chico Freeman, stopped by the LP® Photo Studio on June 2, 1999 for a photo session and talked about the recent work they did together in Europe and America.
Carlos Kanno from Tokyo, Japan is an accomplished practitioner of Afro Caribbean percussion and was co leader of the now disbanded Japanese Salsa group, Orquesta de la Luz. He is currently the leader of the Nettei Tropical Latin Jazz Big Band. Carlos stopped by the LP® photo studio for a new photo session and to share his thoughts about his career.
Steve Kroon and I first met around 1976 when I used to host jam sessions in my home in Hillsdale, New Jersey. Steve has always been devoted to the Cuban musical traditions and has gone on to expand his percussion abilities to include the rhythms of Brazil and Africa. All of these experiences are incorporated in his work outstanding artists like singer, Luther Vandross, bassist, Ron Carter and jazz drumming sensation, Lewis Nash. Listen to Steve tell his story.
MacDonald and I have been tight since 1973 when I met him at Les McCann's recording of the album, Layers. Through his early association with Harry Belefonte, he was the first to bring percussion to a non-Caribbean audience. As one of the most recorded percussionists, Ralph talks about his musical journey from Harry Belefonte to Jimmy Buffet (with whom he is currently performing and writing songs). Ralph's song writing has made him the most highly compensated percussionist of all time.Listen to what this master has to say. In his amazing career, he has walked out of only two sessions. Learn which they were.
Jose Madera joined the Tito Puente Band twenty-eight years ago and never looked back. He ultimately became the group's musical director and played a featured role in the evolution of Latin music in this country and around the world. Listen to Jose talk about his career and about teaching at the Harbor Conservatory.
Pedrito Martinez began performing at the age of 11, where he played and sang in comparsa groups in school. Born and raised in Cuba, he had the unique opportunity to work with numerous Afro-Cuban groups, such as Yoruba Andabo, Obba Ilu, Tata Guines, Changuito, Anga and many others. Listen to what he had to say.
Eddie Montalvo and I have known each other since 1975 and he has been a close friend of mine ever since. Eddie has recorded with the leading names in Latin dance music, from The Fania All Stars to Ruben Blades. His work is especially admired for the steady time he keeps and his ability to "lock" with the other members of a rhythm section, creates the power of a freight train coming down the track. Listen to Eddie tell about his career from his beginnings jamming in the South Bronx where he grew up,  to how important fiberglass congas have been to his craft.
Chino Nuñez has been keeping himself quite busy performing as a timbale palyer in various bands throughout New York and recording on many important CD's. In addition, he has been playing piano and putting together a digital recording studio at his home. Listen to what this Brooklyn, New York native had to say to me.
Versatile percussionist, Luis Orbegoso, is working hard to promote the burgeoning Latin Jazz scene in Toronto Canada. During a recent discussion with Luis, I discovered that he has been a genuine inspiration to me in my personal as well as my professional life. Listen to Luis discuss his unique approach to percussion in this exclusive int.0erview.
Armando Peraza has a frank discussion with several important San Francisco Bay area musicians. Listen to them discuss Armando's greatness, not only as a musician, but as a human being as well.
Ron Powell speaks about growing up in Philadelphia and first playing the congas. He tells about working with Sergio Mendez and learning to play in Brazil. Ron also discusses how he treats music like a business and of his success which has lasted for over 30 years.
Dafnis Prieto discusses with me his career and how he got started playing the guitar and then switched to percussion.
Mario Rivera has carved a unique niche for himself in the world of jazz as a talented multi-instrumentalist who continually strives to intergrate elements of meringue into his music. Hear him discuss his journey as a musician from the Dominican Republic who went on to play stages all over the world while touring with Tito Puente, Roy Haines, George Coleman & many others.
In 1964, Bob Dylan and a host of other folk/rock troubadours were down in New York's East Village revolutionizing popular music with voices of protest and defiance. Over in the Bronx, Johnny Rodriguez Jr. was learning to play music that was just as revolutionary in an altogether different way. "Dandy", as Johnny is known to his friends, was still in high school in 1964. After testing positive for rhythm on a school aptitude test, he became a drummer. He tried playing a traditional drum kit but it didn't hold his interest. Percussion, timbales, bongos, congas did. Listen to him tell his story.
Peter "El Conde" Rodriguez discusses his career in this exclusive interview available only on congahead.com.
Ruben Rodriguez is the leading salsa bass player in New York today. He is one of these naturals that is not the product of a music school but someone who has mastered his craft by working since a very young age in everything from the Motown sound to local barrio bands. He has worked with the great singer Roberta Flack and has recorded with every significant artist in the New York area from Tito Puente, Johnny Pacheco, Machito, Luis Ramirez, Ray de la Paz, Grover Washington, and Hilton Ruiz to name just a few. Ruben is not only a great player but a devoted father of three and an all around fun guy to be around. Listen to him tell the story of his evolution as a bass playing giant.
Yosvany Terry talks about his career and how he got started in music.
Chris Theberge gave up a career in the suit and tie world to pursue his passion for music. For over 4 years he has been the conga drummer with the acid jazz band, Groove Collective. While working in this hybrid musical form, Chris has not forgotten the importance of knowing the origins of the rhythms he embraces and traveled recently to Cuba to gain greater understanding of drumming from this Island. Listen to Chris talk about his life and views on music.
Steve Thornton and I have known eachother for nearly 25 years.  He is one of the best percussionists and one of the kindest human beings I have had the priveledge to know. Listen to Steve talk about his work with some of the most important names in music such as Miles Davis and what life is like for a guy from Brooklyn, in the muslim world of Malaysia.
Carlos 'Patato' Valdez talks about his career in an interview he and Candido did while visiting the LP® studios. Also listen to Patato sing LP's first theme song.