Biography of Willie Bobo (1934-1983)

Musician instrumentalist American of Puerto Rican descent, born in New York on February 28, 1934 and died in Los Angeles on September 15, 1983, considered one of the greatest percussionists of all the times, was a pioneer in the development of the rhythms of latin jazz in the United States, which contributed sounds, extracted from the soul and the rythim and African-American blues. His real name was William Correa.

Born and raised in the Hispanic neighborhood of Harlem, it started playing bongo in the Pérez Prado Orchestra when he/she was only fifteen years, and later became timbalero Cubans Machito Grillo and Mongo Santamaria sets. In 1951 he/she recorded an album with pianist Mary Lou Williams, who baptized him Bobo, and in 1954 he/she was recruited by the grouping of Tito Puente, in which he/she remained until 1957. The career of Willie Bobo took a different direction when in 1958 he/she moved to the U.S. West Coast and created a brass band Santamaria and Cal Tjader, a formation that played a key role in the fusion of Latin music with jazz in that area of the country, as it is reflected on the Concert album by the Sea (1959). After working for two years with Herbie Mann, in 1963 he/she created his own band with Clark Terry and Joe Farrell and recorded the album Bobo´s Beat, and the following year returned to play with Tjader on their successful work Soul Sauce.

In 1965 started a new musical stage with the record label Verve, characterized by a frenetic activity in the recording studios, which resulted in hits such as Spanish Grease, Fried Neck Bones and Some Home Fries, Good Feelin´So, Bobo Motion and New Dimension, in addition to continued collaborations with some of the geniuses of jazz: Miles Davis, Cannonball AdderlyTerry Gibbs and Chico Hamilton, with whom he/she recorded the guy, one of their best albums. In the 1970s he/she returned to California, where he/she continued with his musical career and also made frequent television appearances, including on the Bill Cosbyshow. Seriously ill from cancer, few months before his death met again with Mongo Santamaria during a jazz festival.