Remembering Andy Gonzalez

A tribute to the influential Latin bassist

Bassist Andy Gonzalez passed away on April 9, 2020 at the age of 69 from pneumonia and complications of diabetes.

Gonzalez was born January 1, 1951 in Manhattan, New York; his father Geraldo was a singer in salsa bands and his older brother Jerry Gonzalez (born 18 months before Andy) became a notable trumpeter and percussionist.

After a brief stint on violin in school, Andy Gonzalez switched permanently to bass, having early associations with the bands of Ray Barretto and Eddie Palmieri.

In 1974 he co-founded Conjunto Libre with the timbales player Manny Oquendo, mixing together salsa and jazz; he was the band’s musical director for 35 years, recording a dozen albums.

In the early 1980s, Andy and Jerry Gonzalez formed the Fort Apache Band, an influential and innovative group that invigorated Afro-Cuban jazz by infusing it with modern jazz and r&b, switching spontaneously between the idioms, all of it propelled by Andy’s bass.

A prolific and versatile musician, Gonzalez was on more than 700 sessions through the years including with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente,

Hilton Ruiz, Houston Person, Machito, Steve Turre, Don Byron and both Chico and Arturo O’Farrill.

Health problems forced him out of action for a time in 2004 but he made a comeback and one of his last sessions was his long overdue recording debut as a leader in 2016 (Entre Colegas).

Here is Andy Gonzalez from the Entre Eolegas sessions, performing “Misty” with a group also including trumpeter Carlos Abadie, singer Manuel Alejandro Carro, guitarist Ben Lapidus, and a full percussion section.

If you want to learn more about Andy click here.

-Scott Yanow

A secret New Orleans/Cuba connection

A lot of people talk about the connections between New Orleans and Cuba.

They are deep and real.

Havana actually ran New Orleans when the place was owned by the Spanish 1762 to 1803 and built big parts of the “French” Quarter.)

Anyway, the history is undeniable and so are the “look and feel” similarities of the two places (and they are even stronger in Santiago de Cuba on the islands eastern Haitian-facing side.)

But the devil is in the details.

What’s the modern MUSICAL link?

Jon Cleary shares a little known connection between Professor Longhair and Perez Prado.

“Fes” is Professor Longhair and Professor Longhair is one of a small handful of innovators who can be credited with laying down the roots of rock and roll and funk for that matter.

>>> You can click here to pay Jon Cleary direct

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

P.S. Our unique programming is made possible by help from people like you. Learn how you can contribute to our efforts here: Support Jazz on the Tube
Thanks.

Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
Click here for details

The new generation

More from the wonderful “Conga Borikua” YouTube channel.

Third in a series of what happens when we invest in music education for young people.

Alex Lebron, Manolo Rodriguez, Marcos Lopez

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

P.S. Our unique programming is made possible by help from people like you. Learn how you can contribute to our efforts here: Support Jazz on the Tube
Thanks.

Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
Click here for details

Machito y Ramoncito

Centro Habana

August, 2014

More great stuff from the atticchris YouTube channel.

I love the way this guy captures the music.

Sweet and simple.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

P.S. Our unique programming is made possible by help from people like you. Learn how you can contribute to our efforts here: Support Jazz on the Tube
Thanks.

Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
Click here for details

Remembering Ray Mantilla

A tribute to the versatile percussionist

Percussionist Ray Mantilla passed away on March 21, 2020 at the age of 85.

Raymond Mantilla was born in New York City on June 22, 1934.

His childhood friends included percussionist Ray Barretto, pianist Eddie Palmieri, percussionist Manny Oquendo, and flutist Johnny Pacheco.

Mantilla began playing congas and Latin percussion as a youth and was busy working at sessions and making recordings while still quite young.

He gained recognition as a member of Herbie Mann’s Afro-Cuban band during 1959-63, and then became very busy in the jazz and Latin music worlds.

Mantilla appeared on hundreds of recordings in his career including with Ray Barretto, Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, Gato Barbieri, Joe Beck, Walter Bishop Jr, Mose Allison, Kenny Burrell, Richie Cole, Larry Coryell, Joe Farrell, John Hicks, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Jeremy Steig, and Cedar Walton.

Mantilla was also a member of Max Roach’s all-percussion group M’Boom where he had the opportunity to display his versatility on a variety of percussion instruments, and he visited Cuba in 1977 as part of Dizzy Gillespie’s historic visit.

A bandleader since 1978, heading a group called the Space Station, he led nine albums and became notable for performing Afro-Cuban jazz in unusual time signatures.

Here is Ray Mantilla leading Space Station in 2012.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

P.S. Our unique programming is made possible by help from people like you. Learn how you can contribute to our efforts here: Support Jazz on the Tube
Thanks.

Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
Click here for details

 

Remembering Ronald Lewis

A tribute to the preserver of New Orleans’ African-American cultural traditions

Ronald Lewis passed away on March 20, 2020 at the age of 68.

Lewis was a participant in New Orleans’ Mardi Gras parades from an early age and loved the culture so much that he became an authority on New Orleans’ parading customs.

When he retired after working for 31 years for the Regional Transit Authority as a streetcar track repairman, he devoted himself fulltime to parade culture.

Lewis’ collection of Mardi Gras costumes, supplies and memorabilia along with his photos (he was a skilled photographer) so overwhelmed his family’s residence that his wife persuaded him to move his collection elsewhere.

In the early 2000s, Ronald Lewis opened his cultural museum, The House of Dance and Feathers, in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans with the original purpose of teaching children about New Orleans’ culture.

Hurricane Katrina caused major damage but he was able to rebuild the museum which became an important cultural landmark; he also wrote a book about his collection and the legacy that it represented.

This film, which was made at the House of Dance and Feathers, features Ronald Lewis talking about New Orleans culture and his collection.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

P.S. Our unique programming is made possible by help from people like you. Learn how you can contribute to our efforts here: Support Jazz on the Tube
Thanks.

Go to Cuba with Jazz on the Tube as your guide:
Click here for details