Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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CANDIDO

(b Candido Camero, 22 April '21, San Antonio de los Ba¤os, Cuba) Latin percussion: bongo and conga, tres and bass guitarist; played a major part in blending Afro-Cuban rhythms with other genres: 'I have not heard anyone who even approaches the wonderful balance between jazz and Cuban rhythmic elements that Candido so vividly demonstrates,' wrote Billy Taylor '54. Raised in Cayo Hueso slums of Havana; played bongo at age four; began career at 14 playing tres with Conjunto Gloria Habanera, then with various groups incl. Conjunto Apollo (where he met Mongo Santamaria), Nacional Juvenil (incl. Vicentico Vald‚s on vocals), Conjunto Bolero, as well as the comparsa carnival group El Alacr n. While bassist with Club Faraon's resident band '40 he quickly learned conga to accompany dance duo Carmen and Rolando; performed with them in NYC throughout '46, there exposed to jazz of Dizzy Gillespie, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, etc; met Latin luminaries Miguelito Vald‚s, Machito and Mario Bauz , etc. Played Havana's major nightclubs incl. six years with Armando Romeu Jr's orchestra at the Tropicana; also did six years as staff musician with CMQ radio station and featured with Cuba's National Symphony Orch. Relocated to NYC late '52; Gillespie took him to Le Downbeat Club, where he sat in with the Billy Taylor trio, was hired on the spot and worked with the trio for six months, remaining at the Downbeat to perform with other groups after Taylor moved on.

He sessioned on George Shearing's first Latin recording 'Tiempo de Cencerro, Part I' '53 (incl. on Shearing's 10]im[ LP Satin Latin '53 on MGM); was briefly with Stan Kenton orch. '53--4 (replacing Jack Costanzo on bongo). Thereafter became busiest freelance in his field: sessioned and/or performed with Gillespie (album Afro '54 incl. 'Manteca Suite'), Woody Herman, Erroll Garner (Mambo Moves on Mercury), Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, Art Blakey (Drum Suite '57 on Columbia), Sonny Rollins, Elvin Jones, Randy Weston, David Amram (Havana/New York '78 on Flying Fish, Latin- Jazz Celebration '83 on Elektra/Musician), among numerous others; JATP '60; Carnegie Hall with Tony Bennett '62; many TV appearances. Made his first recording as a jazz soloist on The Billy Taylor Trio With Candido '54 on Prestige; own albums incl. Candido The Volcanic, Candido In Indigo, Candido Featuring Al Cohn and Latin Fire all on ABC-Paramount, 'Brujerias' de Candido/Candido's 'Latin McGuffa's Dust' c'66 on Tico (arr. by Tito Puente, featuring bassist Israel 'Cachao' Lopez), 1000 Finger Man '69 on Solid State; Beautiful '70 on Blue Note (arr./prod. by Joe Cain), Drum Fever '73 on Polydor, Jingo '82 on Salsoul. Notable session work on Latin recordings incl. Puente's Cuban Carnival '56, Machito's Kenya c'58 (aka Latin Soul Plus Jazz), Tico All Stars' Descargas At The Village Gate -- Live '66 (three vols on Tico) and Tico-Alegre All Stars Live At Carnegie Hall '74, Chico O'Farrill's Married Well '67 and Pure Emotion '95, Don Gonzalo Fern ndez's Super Tipica de Estrellas '76, Lou P‚rez's De Todo un Poco/A Little Bit Of Everything '77.