Mongo Santamaría

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ramón "Mongo" Santamaría (born April 7, 1922 in Havana , Cuba as Ramon Santamaría , † February 1, 2003 in Miami ) was a Cuban-American percussionist . He is considered a father figure of Afro Cuban jazz .

Live and act

Santamaría grew up in a poor neighborhood. After taking violin lessons, he switched to drums and later to the conga and other percussion instruments. He left school at an early age to make a name for himself in the local Havana scene. In 1948 he played in Mexico with Perez Prado , with whom he moved to New York in 1950 , where he continued to play jazz and salsa with greats from the first Latin big bands , such as B. with Tito Puente Alberto Socarras , Dizzy Gillespie (1954) and later with the Fania All Stars . From 1957 to 1960 he worked on the west coast with Cal Tjader . In 1958 he made his record debut Yambu , followed by Mongo (1959). The music composed by him and on Mongo included jazz standard "Afro Blue" was, among others, John Coltrane interpreted. He was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998 for his interpretation of Herbie Hancock's " Watermelon Man " in 1963, with which he reached No. 3 on the Adult Contemporary and No. 10 on the Pop charts . In 1977 he was awarded a Grammy for his album Dawn . In 1978 he gave a concert in Havana in which Cuban musicians played and broke the musical ice that politically existed between the communist Cuba Fidel Castro and the USA. In 1980 he played at the Montreux Jazz Festival with Dizzy Gillespie and Toots Thielemans . In 1982 he took part in a large salsa concert in the Berlin Waldbühne as part of the West Berlin Horizontefestival (Horizonte Festival der Weltkulturen : No. 2, 1982) .

In the last two decades he played more albums with Afro-Cuban music and jazz, with which he was unable to build on his commercial success.

His nephew, the percussionist Roberto Santamaria , continues the musical tradition of his uncle.

Discography (selection)

  • "Tambores y Cantos" (1955)
  • "Mongo" (1959)
  • “Mongo en La Habana” (1960) with Carlos Embale and Merceditas Valdés
  • “Sabroso” (1960) - with Tresero and composer Andrés Echeverría
  • "Mongo's Way" (1971) - with Armando Peraza
  • "Up from the Roots" (1972)
  • "Amanecer" (1977) - won a Grammy
  • "Red Hot" (1979)
  • "Summertime" (1981)
  • "Mambo Mongo" (1993)
  • "Mongo Returns" (1995)
  • "Conga Blue" (1995)
  • "Come on Home" (1997)

Lexigraphic entries


  1. Wolf Kampmann Reclams Jazz-Lexikon p. 203

Web links