Jimmy Castor / June 23, 1940 - Jan 16, 2012

Happy birthday to one of NYC's best, Jimmy Castor! He sang doo-wop with Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers and the Teen Chords, as well as playing reeds and percussion. He started playing timbales after hearing Tito Puente and in the early '60s became the bandleader for Dave "Baby" Cortez, as well as recording with Bill Doggett.

The Jimmy Castor Bunch became a hot item on the NYC club scene with their blend of Latin jazz, boogaloo, calypso and funk. They were sharing a lot of bills with Joe Bataan, Pucho & the Latin Soul Brothers and Kool & the Gang while records like "Hey Leroy", "It's Just Begun" and "Troglodyte" moved up the charts. In '73 the band produced and played on Gary Byrd's classic "Soul Travelin".

Castor kept cranking out funny and powerful jams throughout the '70s. He started doing a lot of ballads and ended up starting his own label in the '80s. Hip-hop kept on sampling the funky tunes and Castor is remembered fondly by all. His career covered doo-wop, soul, mambo, boogaloo, jazz, Caribbean, funk, disco, rock, ballads, pop and hip-hop, and he was a distinctive talent on sax, timbales, singing, composing and as producer and bandleader.

And nobody will ever say "Bertha Butt Boogie", "It's Just Begun", "Troglodyte", "King Kong", "Hey Leroy", "Bom Bom", "Potential" and so many others are not still burning dancefloor classics. His music was filled with humor, lots of crazy cover versions and his own burningly heavy original funk heaters.

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