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Jose Mangual, Jr.

Stepping out from behind his father's shadow to be recognized as a musician in his own right was not an easy task for Jose Mangual, Jr. Those familiar with the pioneers of Latin music will attest to the fact that Jose Mangual, Sr., was one of the most talented and respected bongo players in the world. I witnessed this talent firsthand when I first heard Jose Sr., perform in 1956 at Birdland, and his phenomenal playing was one of the inspirations that motivated me to start Latin Percussion.

At the urging of his father, Jose Jr. attended business school and City College in New York City. Not surprisingly, though, music was in his blood, and he soon heeded its call and left the business world. Jose Jr., first played with Mongo Santamaria through whom he met Hector Levoe. Hector invited him to play straight bell and sing with Willie Colon, an idea Jose liked as it was something different from what his famous father did. This responsibility soon enabled the younger Mangual to establish his own identity among his fellow musicians, as well as with the public. "Up until that point I was always referred to as "Mangual's son," Jose, Jr. recalls.

"Dad had such a unique style that it was hard to fill his shoes, so I decided that I would do what came naturally with me rather than try to compete with my father's legacy."

Working with Willie Colon peaked Jose, Jr.'s interest in teaching. After the shows, young musicians would ask him how to play certain rhythms, and he welcomed the opportunity to educate them.

In 1979, Jose, Jr. recorded Understanding Latin Rhythms, one of many sessions organized and funded by LP's Chairman and Founder, Martin Cohen, that have now been released on compact disc. This recording experience gave Jose the momentum he needed to pursue teaching, a practice which he continues today internationally, mainly in South America. In addition, this summer he will tour Europe with Sombadiqua (a seven-piece band), playing bongos and singing.

Unquestionably, Jose Mangual, Jr., has not only managed to carve a respected name for himself in the industry, he has done it in a way which would certainly have made his father proud.

To read a review and hear a sound sample of Jose Mangual, Sr's CD, Buyu, please CLICK HERE.

Listen to interviews where Jose discusses how he helped launch LP®'s recording business and at the same time convert him into a solo act and producer of recorded music. Jose also performs a tribute to congahead, available in QuickTime and RealVideo.

 

Myself and Jose Mangual, Jr.