Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

TJADER, Cal

(b Callen Radcliffe Tjader Jr, 16 July '25, St Louis, MO; d 5 May '82, the Philippines) Vibes, piano, percussion, composer, leader. Mother was a pianist; played with Dave Brubeck '48--51, experimenting with time signatures; joined George Shearing '53--4 and met bassist Al McKibbon, who'd worked with Dizzy Gillespie/Chano Pozo in heyday of cubop and encouraged Tjader's interest in Latin music. He led a group on West Coast; over two dozen LPs on Fantasy began in the early '50s, incl. Mambo With Tjader '54, then Ritmo Caliente '55, quintet with McKibbon on bass, Richard Wyands (b 2 July '28, Oakland) on piano at one recording session, Eddie Cano (b 6 June '27, LA; d there 30 Jan. '88) at the other; sessions for Más Ritmo Caliente '57 incl. McKibbon, Eugene Wright (Brubeck's bassist), violinist/saxist José 'Chombo' Silva, Tito Puente's bassist Bobby Rodriguez, pianist Vince Guaraldi (b 17 July '28, San Francisco; d 6 Feb. '76, Menlo Park; won Grammy for 'Cast Your Fate To The Winds' '62, wrote and played music for Peanuts TV cartoons from '63), Mongo Santamaria and Willie Bobo on percussion (with Tjader the rest of the decade, incl. Concert By The Sea LPs '59, two vols combined in Monterey Concerts on Prestige); Demasiado Caliente c'60 incl. big-band arr. by Cano. Albums on Verve incl. Several Shades Of Jade '63 with Lalo Schifrin, his best-selling Grammy nomination Soul Sauce '64 with Bobo, Donald Byrd, Kenny Burrell (these made top 100 pop LPs); El Sonido Nuevo/The New Soul Sound '66 on Verve and Bamboleate '67 on Tico incl. Eddie Palmieri; left Verve '68 to found his own short-lived Skye label, releases incl. Solar Heat '68 with Ray Barretto; Primo! '73 back on Fantasy incl. Charlie Palmieri and Puente; he continued recording on Fantasy through the '70s incl. LPs with Stan Getz, Charlie Byrd; often Latin style, often straight jazz. Guarabe '77 with Clare Fischer on keyboards on Fantasy followed by Breathe Easy '77 with Hank Jones and Here '79 with Fischer (incl. Fischer's Latin-jazz standard 'Morning') both on Galaxy. Like many others Tjader received new impetus of on Concord Jazz late '70s--80s: The Shining Sea '81 is straight jazz, with Jones, Scott Hamilton, bassist Dean Reilly, drummer Vince Lateano; Heat Wave '82 incl. vocals by Carmen McRae, trombone, piano, bass, drums, Latin percussion; Concord's Latin Picante series incl. La Onda Va Bien '80 (won Grammy), Gozame! Pero Ya '80 (nominated), A Fuego Vivo '82 and his last, Good Vibes '84. Regarding a mild heart attack '79, Tjader commented: 'It could be summed up by the first two bars of ''Sophisticated Lady'': smoking, drinking, never thinking of tomorrow.' He died in Manila after two further heart attacks while waiting to perform. Poncho Sánchez, Tjader's conguero '75--82 (b Ildefonso Sánchez, 30 Oct. '51, Loredo TX) paid tribute with Soul Sauce: Memories Of Cal Tjader '95 on Concord.