Jerry Gonzales, the great congero, trumpet player, and band leader.


We received these marvelous memories of Jerry from subscribers:

I remember a Fort Apache gig in NY at Sweet Basil. I was sitting right up front with my 9-year-old son. A group of young guys came and sat behind us—four of them—I think they were Cubans. They looked at Jerry’s set of five congas and started snickering… five congas? Nobody plays five congas, who is he kidding? And on, and on. Well, by the end of the set, they were whistling, clapping, and shouting the praises of Jerry. They became complete converts and had joined the church of the “Fort Apache Band” with the reverend Jerry González presiding!

– Yves Nazon
Born: Haïti, July 04, 1954

Jerry and Andy González, while with Conjunto Libre, played at my old Café Galería y Teatro – La Tertulia in the East Village, NYC in the late ’70s! Jerry was a consistent innovator, jovial, and a perfectionist when it came to his music! He respected those who respected good music. His live recording with Chano Dominguez, Rumba Pà Jerry, is evidence of how a master conguero transforms a simple tune into a great one! He also displays his ability to teach new musicians how to elaborate on a simple rhythm pattern without losing the original sound. I will always remember him doing what he did best!

– Raùl Cordova
Born: Puerto Rico, May 11, 1947

For a big chunk of time, I was their documentarian, photographer, and friend.

– Tontxi Vazquez
Born: New York City

More memories music here:

– Ken McCarthy
Jazz on the Tube

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David Amram on the David Letterman show (1984)
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