NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero

NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero

 New York City, New York, USA

Well into his eighties, NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero shows no sign of slowing down. His touch on congas is sure, his time is solid, his sound is uniquely his own, and his execution is as nimble as that of a man half his age.


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
(310) 295-4259


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

Set List

Son de La Loma
Conga Jam
Singing Skins
Take More Candy
Tributo a Candido