Carlos “Patato” Valdés

Taken from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
Carlos “Patato” Valdés
Birth name Carlos Valdés
Also known as Patato (because he was very small)
Born November 4, 1926
Los Sitios, Centro Habana, La Habana, Cuba
Died December 4, 2007  aged 81
in Cleveland, Ohio, US
Genres Cuban rumba, son cubano, big band, Afro-Cuban jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, bandleader, composer actor and showman
Instruments Congas, percussion bata drums bongoes
Labels Panart, Blue Note, Verve  Chesky,  Messidor, Timba, Pimienta
Associated acts Armando Peraza, Mongo Santamaría, Tito Puente, Charlie Palmieri, Herbie Mann, Eugenio “Totico” Arango, The Latin Percussion Jazz Ensemble, Machito and The AfroCubans, Mario Bauza y Graciela, Vicentico Valdés, Dizzy Gillespie, Bebo Valdés, El Conjunto Casino “Los Campeones del Ritmo”,   …
Notable instruments
LP Patato Model Congas

Carlos Valdés  (November 4, 1926 – December 4, 2007), better known as Patato, was a Cuban-born American conga player.

In 1954,  he migrated from La Habana to New York City where he continued his prolific career as a sideman for several jazz and Latin music ensembles, and occasionally as a bandleader.  He invented and patented the tunable conga drum which revolutionized the use of the instrument in the US.

Tito Puente once called him “the greatest conguero alive today”.

My comment

Just a few lines today. I do agree with Mr. Tito Puente, he was one of the greatest tumbadores ever.  You have to listen  to PATATO  VALDES in the album BEBO RIDES AGAIN in a Trio with BEBO  and guitarist  CARLOS EMILIO MORALES playing LA COMPARSA de ERNESTO LECUONA.


Patato,  Vilato y  Changuito recorded two albums RITMO Y CANDELA also known as RHYTHM IN THE CROSSROADS when the Cuba  US  diplomatic relations were very tough. But they three found a place and date for an unforgettable REUNION in SAN FRANCISCO.

In my first BLOG in VERMONT in 2008,  I presented WHAT DO ALL THESE GUYS HAVE IN COMMON ? – it was posted in the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival Blog.

I was aided by editor Eric Ford from The Burlington City Arts.

My search  expressed  my respect and consideration for all the Great Cuban Percussionists who had spent and lived all their lives working in the US. For sure, PATATO VALDES was among them.

Toni Basanta

DJ Host of The Cuban Bridge on the radio and on television



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