Luminaries from the world of Latin jazz will converge on Aaron Davis Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 18, to celebrate National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master Cándido Camero on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of his first performance in the U.S. “Cándido: The Last Legendary Music Journey,” presented by City College Center for the Arts (CCCA) and Latin Jazz USA, will honor the 95-year-old drummer, known as the first percussionist to popularize conga drumming in jazz and popular music; a man who has worked with almost all of the great jazz figures, including Miles Davis, Clark Terry, Dinah Washington, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Mongo Santamaria, Buddy Rich, Tony Bennett, Tito Puente, and hundreds more. The event will feature performances by the multi-Grammy-nominated Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band, singer-guitarist David Oquendo, Cuban diva Xiomara Laugart, drummer-composer Amaury Acosta & (U)nity, as well as Latin Jazz USA award recipients, saxophonist-composer Mitch Frohman and tres master-composer Benjamin Lapidus, dance group Herencia D’Cuba, and more. The evening is sponsored by Telemundo and Major World and produced by Nelson Radhames Rodriguez and Ivan Acosta/Latin Jazz USA.
Born on April 22, 1921, in Havana, Camero first came to the United States in 1946 with the dance team Carmen and Rolando—introducing three conga drums to American jazz. He soon fell into the New York City jazz scene with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie and Billy Taylor. His 70-year career spans the globe as well as genres—from jazz to pop and rock to R&B. A percussionist phenomenon, he pioneered the playing of multiple congas and multiple percussion instruments and developed the technique of coordinated independence, a polyrhythmic style of playing. Camero has also been acknowledged for his contributions to the development of mambo and Afro-Cuban jazz. In 2008, he was honored with the prestigious NEA Jazz Master Award.
“An Artist’s Tribute to Candido,” an exhibition in honor of Camero by Hispanic American artists— Asunción, Luis Cruz Azaceta, ENOE, Erasmo Jorge Gómez, Frank Guiller, José Pascual Hijuelos, Carlos Mateus and Luis Alvarez Roure—will run from November 13 through November 22 at the gallery at Aaron Davis Hall. At 6 p.m. on Friday, November 18, a portrait of Camero by Roure, will be unveiled; the work is scheduled to tour various museums throughout the U.S. A special salute from the jazz community by Audelco award winning actor and vocalist Rome Neal, accompanied by Richard Clements, will also pay tribute to the famed Afro-Cuban jazz percussionist.
“Cándido is truly a living legend,” said CCCA Managing Director Gregory Shanck. “For this pioneer of a musical revolution to select City College Center for the Arts and Latin Jazz USA as the organizers of this monumental celebration is a tremendous honor for us. We invite you to witness this historic moment.”
The concert will be hosted by Sirius XM radio personality Nelson Radhames Rodriguez, who will also receive a Latin Jazz USA “Chico O’Farrill” Lifetime Achievement Award as will musicians Mitch Frohman and Benjamin Lapidus and Latin jazz radio personality Louis Laffitte. Frank Rodriguez will announce the awards.
Tickets are $25 for reserved seating and $10 for students and can be purchased online at http://www.citycollegecenterforthearts.org/ or through the box office by telephone at (212) 650-6900 or in person (Tuesday through Friday from 12 noon to 6 p.m.). Aaron Davis Hall is located on the campus of the City College of New York, at West 135th Street and Convent Avenue (129 Convent Avenue).
City College Center for the Arts can be followed on Twitter at @ccnyarts. For more information on “Candido: The Last Legendary Music Journey,” visit citycollegecenterforthearts.org.