October 5, 2021- Today's Topic: Candido
Candido Camero was born in Havana in 1921. His career spanned the entire history of latin jazz in the United States. He lived to the age of 99 and was active almost to the end.
He is considered one of the important pioneers of Afro-Cuban jazz and one of the great innovators of conga drumming.
He became very popular in the United States and became universally known simply as Candido. He appeared often on variety shows like Ed Sullivan and Jackie Gleason which gave
him exposure to a much bigger audience than most of his contemporaries.
By the time he arrived in New York in 1947 he was already famous in Havana as both percussionist and guitarist.
In Havana he had been a member of Chano Pozo's Conjunto Azul, where he met Mongo Santamaría, who then played bongos. As more and more American jazz musicians started incorporating latin rhythms into their music Candido became very much in demand. He worked with a who’s who including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Billy Taylor, Stan Kenton and countless others.
He was the first to play multiple conga drums. Candido explained that necessity was the mother of invention. He was recruited to perform in New York with a popular Cuban music and
dance revue that didn't have the budget to take along all of the musicians in the troupe. So he learned to play all the drum parts himself on two drums, then eventually three. As drum manufacturing technology changed, he was able to actually play melodies on drums tuned to specific musical notes.
Candido recorded several outstanding albums as a leader for ABC-Paramount in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In the early 1970s he recorded for Blue Note before joining the dance
music record company Salsoul.
Candido’s album Inolvidable was nominated for Grammy Award for Best Tropical Latin Album in 2004. He received the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award in 2008 and
he received a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award the following year.