Armando Peraza

Armando Peraza - congas, percussion

Armando Peraza is one of the most important and revered figures in the world of Latin percussion. A legendary master on both congas and bongo, whose unorthodox style and rich history are inspirations to countless younger musicians, many of today's top percussionists cite Armando as one of their biggest influences.

Armando Peraza was born in Havana, Cuba, on May 30, 1924. At the age of three he lost his father, Jose, to pneumonia. When he was seven years old, his mother, Francisca, died of liver failure. He lived with several different relatives over the next few years but by the time he was twelve years old he was supporting himself and living on his own.

He became proficient on the congas and bongos while playing with various bands in Cuba. By the late ‘40’s he was in the band Conjunto Kubavana, which at the time included his friend Carlos ‘Patato’ Valdes. Between 1944 and 1947, Conjunto Kubavana did a series of recordings for RCA Victor that included trademark boleros as well as guarachas.

Upon arriving in New York City in 1949, Armando was an instantly sought-after musician, especially in the contemporary Bebop and Latin Jazz scene. He proceeded to build upon a reputation of amazingly fast, complicated handwork, experimental techniques and a flair for showmanship. He thrived in progressive settings that combined Jazz and Afro-Cuban idioms and was at the vortex of a new musical expression named “Cubop.” He has performed on more than 100 albums and is the songwriter of more than 40 songs. Some of these works include collaborations with Mongo Santamaria, George Shearing in the ‘50’s, Cal Tjader in the ‘60’s and Carlos Santana with whom he was with from 1972 to 1990.

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