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.
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