Born roughly November 4, 1925, Carlos “Patato” Valdez was one of the most influential figures in the development of my career and that of the LP, percussion company I founded in 1964. It was love at first sight for me. He was talented, funny and a bit crazy. He helped me hone my hanging out chops in the after hour clubs in the Bronx and in the parties in his apartment. He was a part of my life for nearly 40 years. With his help I introduced a conga design that has his name and a bata drum set in fiberglass that was a bit oversized. In 1979 he was part of a band I founded that included Tito Puente and Johnny “Dandy” Rodriguez called the Latin Percussion Jazz Ensemble that made 3 European trips and one to Japan. If the trips themselves were costly to me, they helped me develop a global business that became a powerful brand in percussion.
Patato died in a hospital outside of Cleveland, Ohio on November 11, 2007
On October 17, 2010 percussionist, Raphael Cruz brought his Latin jazz quintet to congahead.com studio in Montvale, NJ to record two tunes.
On October 10, 2010 Little Johnny Rivero brought his Latin jazz band, Heat Wave to the congahead.com studio. Accompanying Johnny were Hector Davila, Luques Curtis, Louis Fouché, Anibal Martinez and David Silliman. An added attraction for this wonderful Sunday afternoon of great music was the lovely singer from Peru, Lula Valdivia with John Benitez,Yuri Juarez and Hector Morales.
Vivianne celebrated her birthday a bit late this year but it was successful party. Perfect weather and great gathering of family and friends. Everyone was amazed that Vivianne prepared all the food with help from Maria. Papilon brought a great merengue band that had the dancers going. As usual, DJ Javick killed it with his amazing mixes.
Three wonderful sets of Latin Jazz with Samuel Torres’ band with vocals by Lara Bello at the Zinc Bar on West 3rd St, NYC. September 15, 2010.
Drummer Ernesto Simpson along with conguero, Samuel Torres and piano player and composer, Manuel Valera performed a song for congahead.com in Montvale, NJ
One of the highlights of summer 2010 in NYC was a concert by group, Tiempo Libre along the Hudson River in lower Manhattan.
Cuban bandleader, Pupy brought his exciting band to Summer Stage in NYC’s Central Park for an afternoon of great music.
Venezuelan vocalist, guitarist and composer Juancho Herrera brought his exciting quartet to the congahead.com studio in Montvale, NJ for the creation of 2 HD videos.