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

Master vibraphonist Victor Mendoza

The mambo is a Cuban invention that got a huge boost in Mexico in the 1950s.

Here’s a contemporary Mexican artist, master vibraphonist Victor Mendoza doing a tribute to the Mambo Kings.

He has performed and taught around the world and earned recognitions and awards from multiple organizations, including Latin Beat, Modern Drummer, Jazziz, and the Smithsonian.

Jazziz magazine described Mendoza as “the genre’s leading vibraphone practitioner” and “one of today’s most resourceful composers.”

– 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

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

4 year old de Puerto Rico

Music is not a competition.

On the other hand, fledgling congueros should know what they’re up against.

I don’t have any info about this young player.

The video was posted fourteen years ago on a fascinating YouTube channel called Conga Borkiua.

Is there anything more beautiful than a culture that nurtures its young through music?

Their mission statement:

The purpose of this page is to have a space for Puerto Rican percussionists where they can share their ideas and make contact with other musicians in the world. It is a bond of friendship between all with a common purpose that unites us, EL TAMBOR

One good video deserves another. From the same channel.

David Antonio, 11 years old (posted 2013)

– 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