An underrated name in Latin jazz, Bronx-raised Bobby Paunetto (born to an Italian father and Spanish-speaking mother) only made a few recordings before Multiple Sclerosis disabled him around '79. He was a vibraphonist, heavily influenced by Cal Tjader, who started playing in 1961.
After a military stint, he attended Berklee School of Music in Massachusetts, studying with Gary Burton. He played with Clare Fischer, Tito Puente, Buddy Rich, Mongo Santamaria, Armando Peraza, both the Palmieri brothers and his idol Tjader, who wrote "Paunetto's Point" in his honor. Bobby made recordings for Seeco, Roulette, Mardi Gras and his own Pathfinder label, just five albums total over his entire career.
Despite his health, he kept composing and made a couple of comeback albums on vibes and synths, showing a more cinematic compositional style, before passing in 2010. His classic albums, El Sonido Moderno from '68 and his '70s Latin-jazz masterpieces Paunetto's Point and Commit To Memory are rare groove treasures, full of tasty playing, esteemed sidemen, burningly creative jazz, funky breaks and innovative ideas that sound fresh to this day.