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Willie Bobo

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Willie Bobo (February 28, 1934 - September 15, 1983, real name: William Correa) was an American jazz percussionist. His son is Eric Bobo who is a member of Cypress Hill.

Willie Bobo, who grew up in Spanish Harlem, New York made his name in Latin Jazz in the 1960’s and 70’s, with the timbales becoming his favoured instrument. He met Mongo Santamaria shortly after his arrival in New York and studied with him while acting as his translator, and later joined Tito Puente for 4 years from the age of 19. During the early 50’s the nickname Bobo is said to have been bestowed by the jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams. His first major exposure was when he joined George Shearing’s band on the album The Shearing Spell. After leaving Shearing, Cal Tjader asked Bobo and Santamaria to become part of the Cal Tjader Modern Mambo Quintet, who released several albums as the mambo craze reached fever pitch in the late 50’s. Reuniting with his mentor Santamaria in 1960, the pair released the album Sabroso! for the Fantasy label. He later formed his own group releasing Do That Thing/Guajira with Tico and Bobo’s Beat and Let’s Go Bobo for Roulette, without achieving huge penetration.

After the runaway sucess of Tjaders Soul Sauce, in which he was heavily involved, Bobo formed a new band with the backing of the Verve label, releasing Spanish Grease, of which the title track is probably his most well known tune. Highly successful at this attempt, Bobo released a further 7 albums with Verve.

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