Jazz Caliente: Candido and Chico

November 19, 2016
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95 year-old conguero Candido Camero

Latin Jazz musicians believe in showing respect to the elders and originators of the music.  This week we feature 95 year-old conga drum master  Candido Camero, and we remember Cuban composer, arranger and bandleader Chico O’Farrill.

Best known by only his first name, Candido came to the US from Cuba in 1946.  First working with pianist Billy Taylor, then with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, he expanded the use of Cuban percussion in jazz by using a three-drum combination and tuning the drums so that he could play melodies.

He became the best-known conguero in the US, even appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show and the Jackie Gleason Show.  He’s a 2008 NEA Jazz Master, a 2001 Latin Jazz USA Lifetime Acheivement Award winner, and was the first recipient of the Jazz Education Network’s LeJENd of Latin Jazz Award in 2014.

On November 18, Candido played his final performance.  After 70 years in the business, he’s retiring.  The send-off, “Candido:  The Last Musical Journey,” was held at Aaron Davis Hall at City College Center for the Arts in New York, and featured Bobby Sanabria’s Multiverse Big Band, guitarist David Oquendo, and more.  A fitting tribute to this Latin Jazz maestro.


Chico O’Farrill 1921-2001 

Chico O’Farrill Returns Home

Composer, arranger and  bandleader Arturo “ChicoO’Farrill left Cuba in 1948 to continue his classical music training at Juilliard.  Benny Goodman hired him as an arranger, and Chico went on to be a pioneer of “Cubop“- a mixture of Cuban percussion with American be-bop.

His last visit to Cuba was in 1958, and in his later years he yearned to see his homeland.  Chico died in 2001.

Chico’s son, Arturo O’Farrill will travel with his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra to Cuba in mid-December to bury his father’s ashes in Havana’s Colon Cemetery, and to play a memorial concert at Havana’s Basilica de San Francisco.

Also, congratulations to Arturo O’Farrill and his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra for winning the Best Latin Jazz Album award at the Latin Grammys for their album “Cuba:  The Conversation Continues.”


Jazz Caliente: Latin Grammys Preview

November 12, 2016
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Arturo O’Farrill conducts the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (credit:  Lena Adasheva)

This week we feature music from some of the nominees for Best Latin Jazz Album for this year’s Latin Grammys.  The awards show will be on November 17 in Las Vegas.

Brazilian pianist, composer and arranger Antonio Adolfo’s new CD Tropical Infinito augments his usual quintet with a horn section.  “During the early 1960s – at age 17 to be exact, when I became a professional musician – most jazz recordings by the major artists included horns,” he says.  “These albums influenced an entire generation of Brazilian jazz and bossa musicians. Only one or two music stores in Rio imported the newly released American jazz LPs and I remember scrambling to be the first to buy those albums. Then I would call my musician friends to come to my house to listen to Miles, Coltrane, Bill Evans, the Jazz Messengers, Benny Golson, Art Farmer, Horace Silver, Oliver Nelson, and others, to learn the jazz vocabulary from the masters.”

Venezuelan trumpeter Raul Agraz moved to New York in the 1990s and has stayed busy working in Broadway shows and for TV and films.  Between Brothers is his debut release, and it includes bossa novas, traditional Venezuelan and Afro-Cuban rhythms, and some swinging big band arrangements.

The Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra:  Led by pianist, composer, and director Arturo O’Farrill, the orchestra is the standard-bearer for creative interpretation of Latin jazz greats such as Tito Puente, Frank “Machito” Grillo, and Chico O’Farrill (Arturo’s father and founder of the orchestra), as well as the driving force behind new commissions from Latin music’s most talented composers and arrangers.  Their latest release is Cuba:  The Conversation Continues, recorded in Havana 48 hours after President Obama announced his plan to normalize relations between the U.S. and Cuba.



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Jazz Caliente November 5, 2016

November 5, 2016
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jorge luis pacheco

Jorge Luis Pacheco (

On this debut of the hour-long Jazz Caliente, I feature some music from Cuban pianist/composer Jorge Luis Pacheco.  The wonderful folks joined me on the 88.5 Travel Club trip to Cuba in 2013 were amazed at this young man’s performance at the Havana jazz club La Zorra y El Cuervo.  He’s performing in Bellingham on Sunday, in Olympia on Wednesday 11/9 and popping in to the Royal Room on Thursday 11/10 to join the show with the Entremundos Quarteto and the Brazilian drum and dance group VamoLá.

In other Jazz Caliente news, Latin Jazz and Salsa pianist, composer and bandleader Eddie Palmieri recently added another award to his already impressive collection:  this year’s LeJENd (legend) of Latin Jazz Award from the Jazz Education Network (JEN).  It will look great next to his 10 Grammy Awards, including the first-ever Grammy Award for Best Latin Recording in 1975, and his 2013 National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters award.


Eddie Palmieri with JEN’s  President Caleb Chapman




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Jazz Caliente Expands to Saturday

November 3, 2016
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A little over four years ago, we asked 88.5 knkx listeners if they wanted to hear more Latin Jazz in our Mid Day Jazz programs.  The response was overwhelmingly positive, and so the Jazz Caliente feature debuted at 2pm on  Thursday July 19, 2012.  The 3-song, 15 minute set of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian jazz has been a highlight of Mid Day Jazz afternoons.

Now it’s time to take it to the next level.  Jazz Caliente expands to a one-hour show starting this Saturday, November 5 at 5pm.  That will give us more time to explore the mixture of jazz and world rhythms that move us.  I’ll also be able to include interviews with some of the local and international artists who produce this great music.

This week, I’ll feature some music by young Cuban pianist/composer Jorge Luis Pacheco.  I had the immense pleasure of hearing him play in Havana in 2013.  He’ll be performing in Bellingham for the Friends of the South Whatcom Library’s Jazz Series on Sunday November 6 at 3pm, at Ben Moore’s Restaurant in Olympia on Wednesday November 9, and he’ll be making an appearance at Seattle’s Royal Room on Thursday November 10 with the Entremundos Quarteto and the Brazilian drum and dance ensemble VamoLá.

Join me for the new expanded version of Jazz Caliente, this Saturday at 5pm on 88.5 knkx!


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    Robin’s Nest

    A blog about Jazz, Blues, Latin Jazz, New Orleans, musician's stories and more. My name is Robin Lloyd and I've been involved in jazz radio and the music business for over 30 years. This is my personal blog.

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