Song of the Day: Chano Pozo – “Manteca”

Conga player Luciano “Chano” Pozo was born on this day — January 7 — in Havana, Cuba, in 1915. A renowned percussionist in his hometown, Pozo moved to New York in 1947 to break into the bustling jazz scene. Before long, he would link up with trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, then the face of an exciting new style called bebop. Gillespie was looking for a way to enliven the rhythmic component of his world-famous jazz orchestra, and Pozo proved to be just the thing. The orchestra — featuring Pozo on congas — recorded the tune “Manteca” later that year year, building a prototype for the genre of music that would come to be known as Latin jazz.

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