Jose Mangual - bongos, timbales, percussion (1924 - 1998)
He set a standard in bongo playing and was considered by many to have the greatest sound on the instrument. In the music industry where a bandleader or a vocalist is usually the only musician recognized, José Mangual's exceptional percussion skills made him an exception to the rule. It began for him in August, 1942, when bongocero Chino Pozo and timbalero Tito Puente left the Machito orchestra the join the Jack Cole dancers in Chicago. Their replacements were Polidor Allende on bongos and José Mangual on timbales. One month later Tito Puente returned as the timbalero, Polidor switched to conga and Mangual to bongos. For the following 17 years and over 300 Machito recordings, Latin and jazz music aficionados marveled at Mangual's percussion skills.
José Mangual, known as “Buyú”, was born on 18 March, 1924 in Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico. More than a great musician, Mangual inspired others by his example of persistence and dedication to his art.
Mangual demonstrated a love of music early in his youth, listening to mostly Cuban music: rumbas, guarachas, and son montunos. From that music he took an interest in playing the bongos and taught himself to play on makeshift instruments made from tin cans.
By age 10, Mangual showed such talent and skill that was playing professionally. A few later, in 1939, Mangual moved with his family to New York City. There, he adapted to the music scene, often playing in small clubs and establishing his reputation as a gifted percussionist.