Meet the Musicians
Theme Songs
Rhythm of the Stars
Ya Gotta Laugh
Tito Puente Tribute

Carlos "Patato" Valdez

Carlos "Patato" Valdez was not the first percussionist that I met, but he is someone that I spent more time with than any other. I met him first when he was working with Willie Bobo up in Harlem in a club called Count Basie's. His playing was fast, the band was super hip and Patato's antics off stage amazed me. Like standing behind a woman, yanking her ear lobe and quickly jumping away so she would never know who did the naughtiness. Silly stuff, but it caught my attention.

It was not long after seeing him in Count Basie's that someone took me to a place in the Bronx called Club Cubano Interamericano where Patato was playing. The guy who brought me did the translating and it was that day that our relationship became cemented and has endured for over 30 years.

>During the first years of my knowing Patato I spent most of my time with him in clubs in the Bronx. Cheap bars, after hours clubs, religious ceremonies in apartments. I got to see a side of life that my upbringing and City College did not prepare me for. I learned what being hip really was about and also acquired some bad habits that took some time to break. I learned to make instruments for demanding players and I learned to be confident in my convictions. This last point served me better than all of my college and engineering training.

To learn more about Carlos "Patato" Valdez, CLICK HERE.

Patato posing with the line of LP® Patato Model Congas named for him.