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Mongo Santamaria

Mongo Santamaria enjoyed a long and successful career in Latin music. His recordings and concert performances ranged from the authentic percussion music of Afro-Cuban religious rituals through to Latin-jazz reworkings of American jazz and pop hits.

His song Afro-Blue became a contemporary jazz standard, best-known in the coruscating version by saxophonist John Coltrane. His own adaptation of Herbie Hancock’s Watermelon Man provided the biggest hit of his career in 1963, and is regarded as a classic artefact on the Lounge Music scene.

He was born Ramon Santamaria in Cuba, and nicknamed Mongo by his father (the word denotes a tribal chief in Senegal). He began learning violin, but quickly switched to drums and then congas, and left school early to work as a musician on the highly active local scene in Havana.

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Jazz From The Vinyl Junkyard
CD/LP/Track Review
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Albums

[no cover]
Funk Up / Funk Down
Milestone Records
2004
buy
Montreux Heat!
Montreux Heat!
EMI Music
2003
buy
[no cover]
Live At Jazz Alley
Milestone Records
2003
buy
[no cover]
Afro-Indio / A La...
Milestone Records
2002
buy
Greatest Hits
Greatest Hits
Sony BMG Legacy
2000
buy
[no cover]
Mucho Mambo Mongo
Milestone Records
2000
buy

Videos

Similar Artists

Stan Getz Stan Getz
sax, tenor
Cal Tjader Cal Tjader
vibraphone
Anita O'Day Anita O'Day
vocalist
Paquito D'Rivera Paquito D'Rivera
saxophone
Tito Puente Tito Puente
band/orchestra
Ray Barretto Ray Barretto
congas
Xavier Cugat Xavier Cugat
composer/conductor

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