Legendary Percussionist Armando Peraza Passes Away at 89

Posted on April 15th, 2014 by marcia.stevenson

Armando Peraza
Sun, August 10th at 4pm
Tribute to Armando Peraza by Poncho Sanchez Band with Guest Performers
John Santos, Emil Richards & Pete Escovedo
25th Annual San Jose Jazz Summerfest
Plaza de César Chavez Park
San Jose, CALIFORNIA
Tickets: sanjosejazz.org

Armando Peraza, 1982ARMANDO PERAZA
May 30, 1924 – April 14, 2014

Armando Peraza, the legendary Cuban percussionist with a career spanning six decades, passed away Monday at the age of 89. Peraza worked with many Jazz and Rock luminaries including Charlie Parker, George Shearing, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Dizzy Gillespie, Dave Brubeck, Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Zappa, Rick James, Aretha Franklin, Jaco Pastorius, and Carlos Santana.

Born in Havana, Cuba in 1924, Armando Peraza arrived in New York City via Mexico in 1949, where his intuitive and exuberant playing style translated into immediate work for big bands with Machito and Slim Gaillard. It was while touring with Gaillard that Peraza first visited the city he would eventually call home, San Francisco, California.

Peraza joined Carlos Santana’s band in 1972, playing for nearly twenty years with the group before retiring as a full time member in 1990. In the 1990′s and 2000′s, Peraza would make occasional guest appearances at concerts, festivals and percussion workshops. A revered mentor to many percussionists worldwide, Armando was an honored Latin Percussion endorser for many years.

Armando Peraza leaves behind a wide-ranging and robust catalog of Afro-Cuban Latin Jazz music. He is survived by his wife of over 30 years, Josephine, a daughter and three grandchildren.

– IN REMEMBRANCE –

“This is a sad, sad day for me. Armando was like a father, brother, friend and mentor to me. He was my “Joda” and I was his “Luke Skywalker”. When Armando and I met he gave me the encouragement that I needed. He validated me and my playing. I was of course extremely excited to play with him but I was also a bit anxious and a little bit scared of what he would think of me. To my relief he told me that he loved my playing, style and sound. He said, “Raul, you have your own sound and style. I can tell that it’s you from 1 note. Some people search for their whole lives to find their sound but you have that already. Don’t ever lose that.” Besides that he taught me so much about life and how to live. I am forever thankful and grateful to you Armando. “VivaPeraza!”
– I love you more than you will ever know and I miss you. Raul Rekow

“I am at a loss for finding words to describe the greatness of Armando. He was more than a friend. He was a mentor of music, life, humanity, history. Hundreds of precious Armando stories, anecdotes, life lessons and music memories will live inside of me and my family forever. We traveled on tour with Santana Band, made music and walked thru many streets of the world. When he walked.. . he taught. He will be missed by many family and friends. He will be missed by anyone who loves congas/bongos/percussion cause you cannot study these instruments without touching the life of Armando Peraza. His Life can easily be made into a major film.” – Rest in Peace. Rest in Greatness! Walfredo Reyes, Jr.

Armando Peraza gave these bongos to Richie Gajate-Garcia when he was 16 years old.“Armando Peraza was more than a musical legend to me. He was one of my father’s closest friends. He was family… my mentor. He gave me these LP bongos when I was 16. He is a huge part of my success. There has never been and will ever be another person like him. We pray for his lovely wife Josephine. We mourn his loss. My son Roland Gajate-Garcia now carries the torch that started with Armando. God’s eternal peace.” – Richie Gajate-Garcia

“Amazing human being! Armando completed his mission here on Earth, he left a great legacy for all of us. Will miss him forever!” – With all my love, Giovanni Hidalgo

“Armando was a major influence to me since I was 3 years old. A great man and musician. He will be missed by many. His big heart and fierce playing lives on in me and many others. We love you Armando. I play for you tonite Armando! Que Dios Te bendiga!” - R.I.P. Peace, Lenny Castro

“Armando taught me to be a humble human being and appreciate great music!” – RIP – Love and Respect, Eddie “Gua, Gua” Rivera (Bass player & roommate with Armando back in the Mongo Santamaria days.)

“Although Armando Peraza’s passing is a very sad day for all who knew him personally or knew his music, we are fortunate to have all of the work he left behind for us to enjoy and continue to learn from. This is his legacy and it will live on forever. His influence on percussionists – as well as musicians and non-musicians alike – is beyond description and will ensure his place as one of the greatest musicians to ever live.” - Stephan S. Nigohosian (LP Director of Artist Relations 1996-2014)

Contributed by Bobby Sanabria: REST IN POWER ARMANDO PERAZA – His virtuosity on bongo’ is on display on this classic Santana track. Probably the greatest recorded example of that instrument. It also displays Armando’s ability to adapt a percussion instrument so tied to his Afro-Cuban heritage beautifully to an Afro-Brazilian context, in this case the rhythm of Baion.

“Words seem very inadequate to express the sadness LP feels about master musician, and honored artist, Armando Peraza’s passing. Yet, his music will comfort us and will help keep him close forever. His amazing legacy lives on in the hearts and souls of the many people that he touched and mentored.” –Marcia Stevenson, LP Website Manager