Chano!

Chano and Dizzy – in color for the first time
No, you never saw this before because we made it.

Speaking of Chano, I don’t know who the genius was at Pro-Arte who had the wisdom to record this, but God bless him. Thanks to Reid Whatley for making the video and sharing the platters.

If anyone knows the history behind this recording, please drop me a line and let me know.

Chano Pozo – a brief sketch

Chano Pozo was born Luciano Pozo González on January 7, 1915 in a poor neighborhood in Havana.

In his early teenage years, he was introduced to Santería, also known as “La Regla de Ocha”, an Afro-Caribbean religion derived from the beliefs of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. He was also involved in the Abakuá secret society and Palo which has its roots in the Congo.

Pozo had a colorful, energetic character and was engaged in all kinds of activities, some legal, some less-than-legal, but he was best know for his drumming, dancing and the award winning compositions he wrote for Carnival parades.

His tune “La Comparsa de los Dandys” is to this day a kind of unofficial theme song for the city of Santiago de Cuba and is a familiar standard at many Latin American carnivals.

Chano was involved in the battle to break the color barrier in the Cuban music industry which at the time excluded dark skinned blacks from professional opportunities.

In 1947, he moved to New York City for better opportunities encouraged by his friend Miguelito Valdés.

That same year he met Dizzy, recorded with him and many others, and went on tour in Europe. A year later, his promising life was cut short in a pointless act of violence on a New York City Street.

Click here for the story of how Chano and Dizzy cooked up Manteca.

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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