Conga Kings rehearsed at St. Peter's
Church on West 20th Street in New
York City, under the musical direction
of Ray Santos for their upcoming
CD. They performed on March 2, 2001
at Town Hall, a concert hall in
New York City. The Conga Kings features
conguero virtuosos Candido Camero,
Giovanni Hidalgo and Carlos 'Patato'
Valdez. Other musicians who participated
were Thelonias Monk contest winner
Pedro "Pedrito" Martinez,
as well as Joe Gonzalez, Guilherme
Edghill, John Benthal, Jimmy Bosch,
Mauricio Smith and Nelson Gonzalez,
80 years old, Candido Camero is
one of the most influential percussionists
in modern music. He came from Havana
in 1946, at the age of 25, and made
his first Latin jazz recording with
the legendary Machito and His Afro-Cuban
Band. He went on to play with more
than one hundred great musicians,
such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie
Parker, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton,
Billy Taylor, Stan Kenton, Woody
Herman, Tito Puente - and many more.
And he appeared on "The Ed Sullivan
Show" and "The Tony Bennett Show,"
among others. His gift is a powerful,
driving music; even when he performs
onstage alone, he fills the stage.
Hidalgo, a native of Puerto
Rico, is the most highly acclaimed
percussionist alive today. He has
performed with Dave Valentin, Eddie
Palmieri, and Carlos Santana, and
has traveled all over the world
with Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie,
Art Blakey and Planet Drum. Giovanni
represents the talent of a new generation.
Rarely is there a musician who reaches
his heights. Giovanni's technique
can be seen most clearly in his
videos (produced by DCI Video).
over 60 years, 75 year old Carlos
"Patato" Valdez has combined
technical skill, an incredible sense
of melody and superb showmanship.
In my career I have never seen a
better dancer than Patato, his conga
playing fuses melody with a rhythm
rooted in dance. Patato's sophisticated
melodic percussion required advances
in drum technology - in the late
1940s, for example, he helped to
develop the first tunable congas.
In the 1960's I collaberated with
Patato in creating the design of
the Patato Model Conga that still
stands as a world standard. His
spontaneity and charm keep drawing
audiences from vastly different
cultures to the Afro-Cuban rhythms
the photo galleries from the rehearsal
at St. Peter's Church and from
their performance at Town
Hall in New York City - only
to be seen here! - at www.congahead.com!