News & Updates — Salsa

Miguel "Angá" Diaz / June 15, 1961 - Aug 9, 2006

Miguel "Angá" Diaz / June 15, 1961 - Aug 9, 2006

A huge talent lost much too early, Angá was an ace Cuban percussionist who employed an army of congas, as well as timbales and other percussion instruments. A lifelong follower of Santería, he was born in Pinar del Rió, Cuba, to a musical family. He played professionally with jazz group Opus 13 while studying college before joining the greatest Cuban group of all time, Irakere, in 1987. He's worked with Buena Vista Social Club (and member projects), hiphop group Orishas, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, Afro-Cuban legend Tata Güines, progressive jazz pianist Omar Sosa, Malian jeli musician Baba Sissoko, avant-jazz/M-Base saxophonist Steve...

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Armando Peraza / May 30, 1924 - April 14, 2014

Armando Peraza / May 30, 1924 - April 14, 2014

The Cuban-born, West Coast-based hard-hitting percussionist Armando Peraza is best known for his work with the Santana band, George Shearing and Cal Tjader. He played congas, bongos and timbales, was a songwriter and dancer and made a killer album under his own name for Skye Records. Born in Havana, he was orphaned and took to boxing and baseball. After some time as a boxing coach he became a musician at 17, joining the band of Albert Ruiz and other Cuban groups. It may have been just another hustle at first, but it set him off onto a globe-trotting career! He...

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Henri Guédon / May 22, 1944 - Feb 12, 2006

Henri Guédon / May 22, 1944 - Feb 12, 2006

One of my favorite Caribbean-born artists was master percussionist & composer Henri "Kiké" Guédon. Born in Martinique, he got his career going in the mid '60s with his band La Contesta. He played every style of Latin music, with strong funk & jazz undercurrents, to go with his Antillan and Caribbean musics (zouk, bomba, merengue, beguine, Cuban, etc) and even classical and avant-garde. He was a major Latin music star in France and enlisted world class musicians in his bands. He performed with the percussion front-of-the-stage like his idol Ray Barretto. There are some good collections and reissues of some...

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Barry Rogers / May 22, 1935 - April 18, 1991

Barry Rogers / May 22, 1935 - April 18, 1991

One of the many Jews to contribute immensely to the classic NYC salsa scene, Barry Rogers was a Bronx-bred trombonist who was a first call of many Latin bandleaders, as well as a founding member of the excellent '70s fusion group Dreams (along with Billy Cobham, The Brecker Brothers, John Abercrombie and others). Neighborhood-wise, he came up in mambo & jazz territory. A jazzer at his core, Rogers started playing in Latin bands in the mid '50s. He led the Hugo Dickens group, of which many of the best players of the day (Marty Sheller, Hubert Laws, Bobby Porcelli, Pete...

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Eugenio "Totico" Arango / June 2, 1934 - Jan 21, 2011

Eugenio "Totico" Arango / June 2, 1934 - Jan 21, 2011

One of the rumberos who helped the tradition thrive in NYC, Totico is best known for teaming with Carlos "Patato" Valdes. Born in Havana, he arrived in Boston in '59 and moved to NYC shortly after. He quickly found work as a percussionist, playing with Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln & Eric Dolphy on Roach's incredible Percussion Bittersuite album in '61. He also hooked up with Pupi Legarreta's charanga ensemble (check the Salsa Nova LP) before the absolute classic rumba album Patato & Totico on Verve ('68). The album features Arsenio Rodriguez and Cachao, and I love the killer version of...

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