NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero
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NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Latin




"Candido Camero"

By Andrés Solar
Published: October 26, 2006
Octogenarian Cuban musician Candido Camero, who celebrates a birthday with a return engagement in downtown Miami, works today at the same job he has had for the past 65 years: A-list conga player and innovator. He needs no resumé. But if he did, it would read something like this: Previous employers — Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Machito, Ray Charles, Tito Puente, Quincy Jones, Charles Mingus, Lionel Hampton, the Fania All-Stars, Dinah Washington, Joe Williams, Tony Bennett, Chico O'Farrill, Sonny Rollins, and Celia Cruz, among others.

In 1983, Shep Pettibone remixed Camero's version of "Jingo," written by African master percussionist Babatunde Olatunji. It became a hit for the Latin/disco label Salsoul, which also released Camero's "Dancin' and Prancin'" in 1979. But like Mongo Santamaria, another Cuban who kept the skins singing past his big eight-oh, Candido Camero is really about the relaxed, easy, big-smile approach to mesmerizing, searing Afro-Cuban jazz.
- Miami New Times

"Beating the Drum For Cuba and Bop"

Published: February 18, 1999
There's something untiring about the drummer Bobby Sanabria, who plays around town as a sideman and with a series of his own groups. He teaches, and lectures on the glories of Afro-Latin music. He's a spreader of news, enthusiastic and informed, and at Birdland on Tuesday night he arrived prepared to take on many of those roles. Leading a big band, he played and spoke about Cu-bop, the style created in the mid-1940's that merged the work of Cuban musicians in New York with be-bop.

The band played ''Tanga,'' the first Cu-bop piece, and an early example of modal playing in jazz. Mr. Sanabria broke out an arrangement of Dizzy Gillespie's ''Groovin' High,'' for Latin big band and the band improvised a version of ''Manteca,'' another piece associated with Gillespie. Mr. Sanabria talked about the relationship between the original Birdland and the Latin dance palace called the Palladium, which in the early 1950's were just a few blocks from each other. He told how, in between sets, the musicians from each place would mingle, sitting in or just listening to one another.

Toward the end of the night Mr. Sanabria brought out the legendary congero Candido Camero, the drummer who arrived in New York in 1946 and was one of the first Cuban musicians to begin the fusion of the two styles. Mr. Camero has access to the divine, and when he began to play, the music changed. He uses several tuned conga drums, and he began by playing melodies carefully. His playing makes sense, it has cadences, and it starts and finishes logically. And he swings.

Though he plays with a Cuban rhythmic complexity, he has absorbed an American swing. When the band joined in, he and the orchestra were working with a deep level of movement. The musicians, watching Mr. Camero, were smiling in appreciation. Mr. Sanabria had loaded the band with good improvisers, and on several tunes the saxophonist Carolina Strassmayer stood up in front of the band and constructed knotted improvisations. The trombonist Chris Washburn, one of the best trombonists in salsa, improvised rippling lines over the band's clave.

The show ended with ''Manteca,'' and the four percussionists, including Mr. Camero, improvised, talking to one another and finishing with yet another astonishing bit of improvising by Mr. Camero. - The New York Times

"Candido Camero to Receive the 2009 Latin Recording Academy(R) Lifetime Achievement Award"

MIAMI, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Candido Camero, Beth Carvalho, Charly Garcia, Tania Libertad, Marco Antonio Muniz, and Juan Romero will receive the 2009 Latin Recording Academy(R) Lifetime Achievement Award. Jose Antonio Abreu and Roberto Cantoral will be honored with the Latin Recording Academy Trustees Award. The award recipients will be acknowledged at a special ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009, at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. The 10th Annual Latin GRAMMY Awards will be broadcast live on the Univision Network from 8 - 11 p.m. ET/PT (7 p.m. Central) from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on Nov. 5, 2009.

"As we celebrate a decade of the Latin GRAMMY Awards, recognizing extraordinary music and its makers, it is only fitting that we pay homage to these exceptional individuals who have contributed their rich, dynamic talents to Latin music," said Gabriel Abaroa, President of The Latin Recording Academy. "The Board of Trustees of The Latin Recording Academy is humbled to salute these diverse performers and humanitarians who have made prolific contributions to Latin culture, both musically and socially."

Lifetime Achievement Awards: This Special Award is presented by vote of The Latin Recording Academy's Trustees to performers who have made creative contributions of outstanding artistic significance to the field of recording during their careers.

Cuban percussionist Candido Camero is a celebrated musician who began his musical journey in his native Cuba before making his way to New York City in 1952 where he would begin recording with Dizzy Gillespie. Playing Afro-Cuban and traditional jazz he pioneered tuning congas to the melody of the song. At the age of 88, he continues to charm crowds with his talent and has been recognized with the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award.
Hailing from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Beth Carvalho is a samba singer, guitarist, and composer. She is known as the "madrinha do samba" (godmother of samba), bringing recognition and reverence to great composers and songwriters, and she was a driving force in re-igniting the genre in the '80s. With a career that spans 40 years, she continues to record and is celebrated for her integral role in the history of Brazilian music.

Growing up in Argentina, Charly Garcia began playing classical piano at 4 years old, and later was inspired by the Beatles, who he said were like "classical music from Mars." Garcia was an integral player in the Argentine rock movement with his bands Sui Generis and Seru Girian in the '70s before beginning his solo career in 1982. He has collaborated and performed with artists from all over the world, and continues to record today, recently releasing the song "Deberias Saber Porque" in August. Garcia is considered a true icon of rock music throughout Latin America and Spain.

Known as a singer who has moved audiences with the emotion in her voice, Tania Libertad was born and raised in Peru and moved to Mexico in 1978 where she would build an international career. Libertad has sung in a wide variety of styles including Peruvian waltzes, boleros, and African music and has sung all over the world and on every continent. Many of her songs contain a social message, and in 1997 she was honored as an UNESCO Artist for Peace.

As ambassador of traditional romantic songs, Marco Antonio Muniz has released close to 80 albums and 40 hit singles across all of Latin America. Born in Jalisco, Mexico, he has performed in stadiums and coliseums throughout his career in both Latin America and the United States. Before starting his successful solo career, he was the extraordinary lead voice of the trio "Los Tres Ases," and his distinctive voice has driven a thriving solo career that continues today.

Singer, songwriter, poet, and preacher Juan Romero has worked in the ministry for more than 50 years, writing more than 430 hymns, as well as his own autobiography detailing his work. Born in Monterrey, Mexico, Romero hosted a television program for more than 10 years with his wife Aurora that reached an audience of more than 70 million people. After relocating to the United States he continues to travel the world, conducting meetings for Christian education and music.

Trustees Award: This Special Award is presented by vote of The Latin Recording Academy's Trustees to individuals who have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording during their careers.

Venezuelan pianist, educator, economist, and activist Jose Antonio Abreu got his career start in politics, serving as minister of culture for Venezuela, and worked as a university professor of economics and law. In 1957 he began to study piano, harpsichord, and organ, and received the Symphonic Music National Prize in 1967 for his talent. In 1975 he founded El Sistema, an innovative youth education organization in which music is the primary avenue for social and intellect - Latin Recording Academy

"U.S. Postal Service Celebrates Latin Jazz, Hispanic Heritage"

WASHINGTON, DC —The U.S. Postal Service dedicated the Latin Jazz commemorative stamp Monday at the National Postal Museum in celebration of the rich legacy of Latin jazz.

“Through our stamp program, we have the privilege to shine light on the diverse gifts that make our nation great,” said Marie Therese Dominguez, vice president, Government Affairs and Public Policy. “Today, we are here to celebrate the beauty of Latin jazz and its powerful influence on American culture.”

The Latin Jazz stamp is the latest in a long history of stamp subjects honoring Hispanic people, places and events. Recognition also has been given to American journalist Ruben Salazar, the 1947 Mendez v. Westminster trial and civil rights leader Cesar Chavez. Altogether, the Postal Service has issued over 50 stamps celebrating Hispanic heritage.

The stamp dedication included a special guest performance by 2008 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master Candido Camero. Since the 1950s, Camero has been instrumental in the evolution and proliferation of Latin jazz in the United States and has collaborated with such jazz legends as Dizzy Gillespie and the Billy Taylor Quartet.

“I am proud to join the Postal Service in celebrating Latin jazz in the United States,” said Camero.

Latin jazz is an improvisational and rhythmic style of music that combines elements of jazz with musical traditions rooted in Africa, Europe and the Americas. Like jazz, it relies on instruments such as the piano, saxophone and bass to play and improvise harmonies and melodies. Most Latin jazz adds a complex rhythm section, which can include conga drums, the bongo, maracas, the cowbell or other percussion instruments.

Building on the marriage of Caribbean and North American music styles that had begun in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Latin jazz spread throughout the United States during the 1920s and 1930s, along with the growing popularity of Latin rhythms and dance styles. Enthusiasm for Latin jazz reached new heights during the 1940s and 1950s. Since then, new instruments like the flute and trumpet have been added to the Latin jazz sound.

The stamp features a bold, graphic design by San Francisco-based artist — and Latin jazz fan — Michael Bartalos. Eager to capture the upbeat, energetic and romantic spirit that characterizes much of Latin jazz, Bartalos has created a tropical evening scene that depicts three musicians playing bass, piano, and conga drums and conveys the multicultural aspects of the music, its percussive and improvisational nature and its rhythmic complexity.

The 42-cent Latin Jazz stamp goes on sale nationwide today and also can be purchased online at

How to Order the First Day of Issue Postmark

Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, or at The Postal Store web site at or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes (to themselves or others), and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Latin Jazz Stamp
Special Cancellations
PO Box 92282
Washington, DC 20090-2282

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by November 9, 2008.

How to Order First Day Covers
Stamp Fulfillment Services also offers first day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:

Information Fulfillment
Dept. 6270
US Postal Service
PO Box 219014
Kansas City, MO 64121-9014

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Partial List:

Candido Hands of Fire (2007)
90 Millas (2007) - Gloria Estefan
Essential Tito Puente (2005) Remastered - Tito Puente
Dizzy: The Music Of John Birks Gillespie (2005) - Dizzy Gillespie
Mellow Madness (2005) - Grant Green
Pure Genius: The Complete Atlantic Recordings (1952-1959) (2005) - Ray Charles
Tease: The Beat Of Burlesque (2005) - Various Artists
Erroll Garner's Finest Hour (2003) - Erroll Garner
Getz For Lovers (2002) - Stan Getz
Kenton Showcase: The Music Of Bill Russo And Bill Holman (2000) - Stan Kenton
Dinah Washington's Finest Hour (2000) - Dinah Washington
Blue Breakbeats (1998) - Grant Green
Paris Jazz Concert 1960 (1998) - Dizzy Gillespie
His Majesty King Funk/Up With Donald Byrd (1995) - Grant Green
Verve Jazz Masters 10 (1994) - Dizzy Gillespie
Verve Jazz Masters 25 (1994) - Stan Getz
Cuban Carnival (1993) - Tito Puente
Thirteen Pictures: The Charles Mingus Anthology (1993) - Charles Mingus
Best Of Tito Puente Vol. 1 (1992) - Tito Puente
Dizzy's Diamond's: The Best Of Verve Years (1992) - Dizzy Gillespie
Time Being (1972) - Buddy Rich
For The Funk Of It - Grant Green
Ain't It Funky Now! - Grant Green
Green Is Beautiful (1970) - Grant Green
Reflections (1963) - Stan Getz
Gillespiana/Carnegie Hall Concert (1961) - Dizzy Gillespie
Kenya: Afro-Cuban Jazz (1958) - Machito
Contrasts (1955) - Erroll Garner
Afro (1954) - Dizzy Gillespie
After Hours With Miss D (1954) - Dinah Washington
Yambeque: The Progressive Side Of Tito Puente Vol. 2 (1950) - Tito Puente



Born in 1921 in a Havana barrio called El Cerro, Candido was initially a multi-instrumentalist, showing facility on tres, guitar, and bass-these being key instruments in the popular Son music of the day. A switch to bongos and congas led to a six-year spell with the CMQ Radio Orchestra and a residency at the famed Cabaret Tropicana.

Heralded as the father of the technique of coordinated independence, Candido had further accomplishments. For one, he pioneered the use of two congas and later three, whereas in past congueros were content with a single drum. His playing became distinctive owing to a tendency to tune, when possible, to the melody of the song. Equipped with three congas and a bongo, he was able to complement horn, piano, and bass lines with harmonic contributions. In fact, when he recorded "Tea for Two" with Joe Loco, Candido played the melody on congas and bongos.

A move to New York City in 1946 put him in high demand hot property and he soon began working with such premier jazz and Latin artists of our time, including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Machito and his Afro-Cubans, and Mario Bauza. Candido's uncanny ability to anchor with flare bands of all sizes, from trios to orchestras earned him the respect of musicians and critics.

Further recognition came in 1954, when Candido joined the Stan Kenton Big Band and toured coast to coast. He became a familiar figure on television, appearing with Tommy Dorsey, Patti Page, Tony Bennett, Charo, Machito, Tito Puente, Lena Horne, and Dizzy Gillespie, on such shows as The Jackie Gleason Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, Mike Wallace, and on many specials, including some as far a field as Panama and Tokyo. He soon eclipsed all other congueros in terms of popularity, including the late Chano Pozo. In 1954, pianist Billy Taylor wrote, "I have not heard anyone who even approaches the wonderful balance between jazz and Cuban elements that Candido demonstrates."

Candido's long list of recorded work includes sessions with Lena Horne, Billy Taylor, Buddy Rich, Art Blakey, Count Basie, Elvin Jones, George Shearing, Lionel Hampton, Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery, Woody Herman, Doc Severinson, Marian McPartland, Lalo Schifrin. Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Charlie Parker, and Antonio Carlos Jobim-these in addition to a number of dates as leader.


Emerson Bran Management
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