On December 7, 2010 John and his son, Francis Benitez brought their respective bands to the congahead.com studio to perform.
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
With movie star good looks, Gregorio Uribe from Colombia brought his 16 piece big band to the Zinc Bar for an off-the-chain performance of tunes he arranged.
Trombonist, Marshall Gilkes while on a break from his work with the WDR Radio Orchestra of Cologne, Germany visited congahead.com’s studio to record his composition, Slashes.
As Honorary Chairman for 52 People for Progress I was asked to attend their 30th anniversary get together on Kelly Street in the Bronx.
WELCOME to Congahead.com! My name is Martin Cohen and my passion for music has fueled much of my life’s activities. Since the 1950’s, I have been photographing and recording the world’s most creative and exciting musicians.
I began this website in order to share my good fortune in knowing many of the world’s finest percussionists and instrumentalists. I wanted to share the images, recordings, interviews, and movies I made of these legendary musicians. Within Congahead you will find many exciting sound clips, movies, photos and interviews from my personal collection. I invite you to join me online as I present the most talented musicians of contemporary music.