1924 - 2014
Armando Peraza was and remains one of the most important and revered figures in the world of percussion. A true legend of congas and bongo, his unorthodox style and rich history are still inspiration to countless younger musicians. Most of today's top percussionists cite Armando as one of their biggest influences.
Upon arriving in New York City in 1949, Armando was an instantly sought-after musician, especially in the contemporary Bebop and Latin Jazz scene. He built a reputation of amazingly fast, complicated handwork, experimental techniques and a flair for showmanship. He thrived in progressive settings that combined Jazz and Afro-Cuban idioms and was at the vortex of a new musical expression named "Cubop." He performed on more than 100 albums and was the songwriter of more than 40 songs. During his long and prolific 60 year career, Armando performed and recorded with such musical icons as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Machito, Josephine Baker, Art Tatum, Dave Brubeck, Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt, Frank Zappa, Rick James, Aretha Franklin and Jaco Pastorius. Some will argue that his wide ranging, eclectic musical experience has made Armando Peraza the most traveled and widely-heard percussionist of a generation.
1926 - 2007
Patato pioneered the first tunable congas, which he put to good use accompanying the great band leaders of his day with melodic lines in addition to the customary rhythms. He became a close friend of the company in its early days, advising on a variety of technical and design issues and his collaboration resulted in the LP Patato Model Congas, which became some of the top-selling congas of all time
Emigrating from Cuba to New York in 1955, he quickly saw action with Kenny Dorham, Tito Puente, Herbie Mann, Dizzy Gillespie, and most major Latin and jazz figures of the time.
Many recordings showcase Patato’s musicality including Ready for Freddy and Authority. However, two revered ensembles, The Latin Percussion Jazz Ensemble, with the late Tito Puente, documented on the recording Live at Montreux 1980 as well as The Conga Kings that included fellow icons Candido Camero and Giovanni Hidalgo most clearly express Patato’s legacy of an indelible touch, organic tones, and a sense of musical communion. The Puerto Rican Jazz Festival, the International Latin Music Hall of Fame, and the New York Hispanic Entertainment Journalists are among many institutions that recognized Patato’s lifetime achievements with awards. Latin Percussion still mourns his passing but his melodic musical contribution and dancing legacy live on, as do the LP congas bearing his name.
1939 - 2006
Don Alias, an LP artist for nearly 30 years, was an extremely gifted and dedicated artist. His extraordinary career included work with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Roberta Flack, Joni Mitchell, Weather Report, Tony Williams and Jaco Pastorius just to name a few. His contributions to the world of music are numerous. A kind man with a gentle spirit, Don will be missed by all who knew him and admired his passionate and skillful playing
1931 - 2009
Latin Percussion has long been associated with the greatest pioneers in the history of percussion. They are what inspired the birth of the company and what gives voice to the instruments the company produces. Manny Oquendo was indeed one of those voices. Coming into prominence as a timbalero during the early 60’s with pianist Eddie Palmieri’s La Perfecta, he led Manny Oquendo & Libre for 35 years where he thrilled audiences his fiery timbale solos as well as his supperb bongo playing. On both instruments Maestro Oquendo firmly based his playing in the tradition of being understated with restraint, a style that served the band as an accompanist and inspired great dancing.
Manny (as he was known the world over) was living testimony to a now bygone era when Latin musicians performed in lavish ballrooms in New York City with orchestras that spoke through rhythm to dancers who made the cult of mambo a rite of passage. Born in Brooklyn, New York to Puerto Rican parents, the Oquendo family moved to Manhattan’s Puerto Rican and Cuban enclave, Spanish Harlem, and then eventually to the South Bronx where he and his boyhood friends would help to develop the N.Y.C. Afro-Cuban based sound that became known as salsa. Manny was a true S.O.B. - A son of Brooklyn, El Barrio and Da' Bronx. José Manuel "Manny" Oquendo will forever be a part of the LP legacy.
1944 - 2011
A Grammy award-winning artist and an endorser for Latin Percussion for nearly 40 years, Ralph was very close with LP and acted as a sounding board for new products all the back to the 1970’s. "There has always been a real camaraderie of company, product and player at LP," said Ralph.
Ralph played with Harry Belafonte, Ashford & Simpson, the Bee Gees, David Bowie, Brecker Brothers, Hall & Oates, Billy Joel, Bob James, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon, Steely Dan and Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reef Band. He was also a very successful songwriter, penning such hits as the Roberta Flack/Donny Hathaway hit “Where Is The Love”, Grover Washington, Jr.’s, platinum hit “Just The Two Of Us” and “Holiday” for Jimmy Buffett's Banana Wind album.
Since his passing in 2011 we have sorely missed his sense of humor and warmth but we know that his memory will always be preserved in the legacy of beautiful and timeless music that he left behind as a gift for us all to enjoy.
1954 - 2015
Carlos Santana said, “Raul Rekow redefined what it meant to be a conga player.” As the conguero for Carlos Santana's band from 1976 – 2013 Raul participated in the groundbreaking melding of Latin, Rock and Funk styles that characterizes the band's music. The San Francisco-born Rekow was initially self-taught and joined the band Malo, led by Carlos Santana’s brother Jorge Santana in 1972 that had a huge hit with “Suavecito.” After playing in Sapo, another Latin-rock band he was asked to jam with Carlos in 1976 and was invited to join the band where he learned from legendary Santana veterans Armando Peraza and Orestes Vilato.
Raul has also recorded and performed with Aretha Franklin, Patti Labelle, Whitney Houston, Tremaine Hawkins, Herbie Hancock and others. Charismatic, theatrical, evocative and powerful, Raul Rekow drew from a deep well. His grooves were impeccable whether on stage or on recordings. He was a great ambassador for Latin Percussion, conducting clinics all over the globe with his long-time brother in rhythm, Karl Perazzo. Raul’s untimely passing was a loss to fellow musicians and fans that will forever have him in their hearts. We are proud that we were able to work with him and his family to introduce the special Raul Rekow Signature congas and bongos.
1923 - 2000
Elvis may have been known as "The King of Rock and Roll," but to fans of Latin music icon, Tito Puente will always be "The King of Latin Jazz."
Puente was responsible for making timbales a respectable solo instrument in Latin dance music and Latin jazz. He was also an accomplished player of the vibraphone, alto sax, bass, piano and drums, as well as an arranger and band leader. As an accomplished dancer himself, Puente always counted dancers as among his most loyal devotees. His Dancemania album has sold over half a million copies since 1957, and five of his over 100 album releases have won Grammy Awards. Other milestones for this legend included an appearance in the 1992 film The Mambo Kings, having a star installed on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, and the opening of his own restaurant in City Island, in New York. On November 19, 1996 Puente's contribution to American music was honored with a U.S. Postal Service stamp cancellation mark. The following year, Tito received the National Endowment Award from President Bill Clinton. Puente's craving for innovation and perfection helped lead to the design of of LP's Tito Puente Model Timbales. Though he is no longer physically with us, Tito Puente will live forever in the hearts of music fans the world over.
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