Cal Tjader

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Callen Radcliffe Tjader (born July 16, 1925 in St. Louis , Missouri , USA ; † May 5, 1982 in Manila , Philippines ) was an American Latin jazz musician who was best known as a vibraphonist .


Tjader's parents were from Sweden . Cal grew up in an environment of music and theater, his father was music director and director of a variety show . He performed as a child as a dancer on his parents' stage and in some Paramount films, but decided to become a musician, began playing drums , and performed with small groups in California in the late 1940s .

In 1949 Dave Brubeck engaged him for his trio and recorded ten albums with him. He then worked for a while with guitarist Alvino Rey before joining George Shearing's band in 1953 , in whose combo he also played the vibraphone for the first time. A year later, Dave Brubeck's record label Fantasy offered him a record deal. The result was over 30 albums, created over a period of 10 years.


The Cal Tjader quintet of the 1950s was one of the pioneers of West Coast jazz . Musicians such as B. Vince Guaraldi were influenced by Tjader's style. Tjader was particularly successful with Latin jazz, he is considered one of the most important musicians of the Mambo wave that washed over the United States in the 1950s.

1963 took the record label Verve Records Tjader under contract. Together with the German arranger Claus Ogerman , he was able to present one of the most successful jazz albums of the 1960s with the Soul Sauce record . A single from it - Soul Sauce (Guachi Guaro) - stayed in the US music charts for weeks .

In 1968 he founded the record label Skye Records together with Norman Schwartz , Gábor Szabó and Gary McFarland . Until the bankruptcy of the company in 1970 a number of records by the musicians mentioned were released there, including Sounds Out Burt Bacharach by Tjader, a tribute album to the composer Burt Bacharach .

Tjader is still very much respected by Latin American musicians. Latin musicians like Armando Peraza , Mongo Santamaría , Willie Bobo , Cándido Camero , Eddie Palmieri and also Tito Puente worked with Tjader, as did artists like Stan Getz and Carmen McRae . However, it is a curiosity that Tjader was one of the few musicians on the Latin jazz scene who was not of Latin American origin. He even led bands at times in which not a single Latino played. To this day, many tribute albums have been made, including by Dave Samuels , Poncho Sanchez and especially Gary Burton . Tjader is counted among the co-founders of Latin jazz. Its sound has remained musically influential to this day and consolidated the vibraphone's position as a solo instrument in jazz.

In the late 1980s, Tjader was rediscovered by acid jazz DJs . Resampled and looped , his music experienced a renaissance and has since been appreciated again by young musicians.

Discography (selection)

  • The Cal Tjader Trio, Fantasy Records 3-9
  • Mambo with Tjader, Fantasy 3202
  • Tjader Plays Jazz, Fantasy 3211
  • Ritmo Caliente, Fantasy 3216
  • Tjader Plays Mambo, Fantasy 3221
  • Cal Tjader Quintet, Fantasy 3232
  • Jazz at the Black Hawk , Fantasy 3241
  • Cal Tjader's Latin Kick, Fantasy 3250
  • Cal Tjader, Fantasy 3253
  • Mas Ritmo Caliente, Fantasy 3262
  • Live and Direct, Fantasy 3315
  • Cal Tjader Plays, Mary Stallings Sings, Fantasy 3325
  • Last Night When We Were Young, Fantasy 3482
  • Breathe Easy, Fantasy 5107
  • Latin for Dancers, Fantasy 8079
  • Several Shades of Jade, Verve V6-8507
  • Sona Libre, Verve V6-8531
  • Breeze from the East, Verve V6-8575
  • Warm Wave, Verve V6-8585
  • Soul Sauce, Verve V6-8614 (1964)
  • Soul Bird-Whiffenpoof, Verve V6-8626
  • Soul Burst, Verve V6-8637
  • Along Comes Cal, Verve V6-8671
  • The Best of, Verve V6-8725
  • Hip Vibrations, Verve V6-8730
  • Doxy, Verve V6S-8820
  • Return Engagement, Verve V6-8843
  • La Onda Va Bien, Concord Records Jazz 113
  • The Shining Sea, Concord Jazz 159
  • A Fuego Vivo, Concord Jazz 176
  • The Cal Tjader- Stan Getz Sextet, Fantasy 3266
  • Cal Tjader plays Harold Arlen , Fantasy 3330 / OJC 285


  • S. Duncan Reid: Cal Tjader - The life and recordings of the man who revolutionized latin jazz , McFarland 2013

Web links

Individual evidence