COMPOSERS: Cándido Camero
ALBUM TITLE: The Master
PERFORMER: Cándido Camero (congas), Al Acosta (saxophone and flute) etc
CATALOGUE NO: JD365
Conga-player Cándido Camero, now 93, has lent his distinctive beats to recordings by some of the giants of 20th-century jazz, including Sonny Rollins. And this recent Chesky release gives an opportunity to catch a surviving legend of Cuban jazz percussion. Originally from Havana, Cándido relocated to New York in the 1950s, becoming immersed in the thriving jazz scene and getting spotted by Dizzy Gillespie. He became known for his individually tuned congas (an idea he borrowed from the tuning of orchestral timpani) and his taped fingers (for protection and visibility).
On this disc of works by octogenarian composer Ray Santos, Cándido and his band breeze through the arrangements, such as the simmering ‘Wow Wow Holy Cow’, with multi-instrumentalist Al Acosta providing latin-style solos on sax and flute. The recording balance ensures that Cándido’s touch is omnipresent, as each of his finger-strikes mould the tumbaos (repetitive patterns) at the base of each tune.