The grand master of the congas, Candido Camero (who is widely known simply as Candido) is in his late 80s yet still remains at the top of his field. Born in 1921 in Havana, Candido originally played guitar, tres and bass before settling on congas and bongos. He was a professional by the time he was 14 and worked for six years with the CMQ Radio Orchestra and at the Cabaret Tropicana. Candido was a pioneer in utilizing two (and later on three) congas which he tuned rather than just using one. He first visited New York in 1946 as the accompanist for a dance team. Candido recorded in Cuba with Machito before moving to New York in 1952 at Dizzy Gillespie’s urging. Candido immediately became very busy, working with such major musicians as Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Machito and Mario Bauza, being in great demand in both jazz and the Latin music field.
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.