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About Bobby Matos

Percussionist Bobby Matos is one of the most highly respected drummers in the entire Afro-Cuban/Latin jazz genre. Born in the Bronx, New York City, on July 24, 1941, Matos came from a musical family, but was more interested initially in dancing than playing an instrument. Matos didn't begin to take drumming seriously until his late teens, while also learning how to play conga in the basements of churches in Harlem, as he looked up to such artists as Tito Puente for inspiration. It was around this time that Matos joined his first band, Los Congueros, comprised solely of conga, flute, and bass. By the late '60s, Matos had graduated to bandleader (just as the salsa movement began to gain full steam), resulting in one of his best-known songs, "My Latin Soul," produced by Joe Cain, a respected figure in Latin jazz. But instead of continuing on as bandleader, Matos decided to focus strictly on his percussion, as he worked as a sideman for the next two decades. By the '80s, Matos had relocated to California and began to record new material. In the '90s, he issued albums on a regular basis: 1993's Collage Afro Cuban Jazz, 1995's Chango Dance, 1996's Footprints, 1997's My Latin Soul, 1998's Sessions (a compilation of some sessions Matos played on over a 14-year period), 1999's Live at M.O.C.A., and 2001's Mambo Jazz, the latter of which was a collaboration with fellow jazz drummer John Santos. ~ Greg Prato

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