Edward "Eddie" Cano (June 6, 1927 – January 30, 1988) was an Afro-Cuban jazz and Latin jazz pianist born in Los Angeles, California. He began his musical career with Miguelito Valdés and his orchestra. Cano has worked with many other notable musicians including Bobby Ramos, Les Baxter, Jack Costanzo, Buddy Collette, and Tony Martinez. He was also first president of the Hispanic Musicians Association. He also recorded a slew of albums for various labels, including Reprise Records and RCA Records. He also explored boogaloo and tropical music. Eddie Cano died from an apparent heart attack on January 30, 1988.
Cano spent most of his career trying to find the balance between jazz and Latin jazz styles. He found an appreciative audience for a series of albums under his own name released in the '50s and '60s by labels such as Atco, Reprise, and RCA, his following similar to that of vibraphonist Cal Tjader and bandleader Les Baxter. Cano also drew on dance crazes such as the cha cha and the Watusi to promote his efforts. His family was rich musically, Cano's father a bass guitarist, his grandfather a member of the Mexico City Symphony. Cano studied bass with his grandfather and private teachers, also studied piano and trombone, spent two years in the Army beginning in 1945, and then began hitting stages in a group led by Miguelito Valdés.
He soon made a connection with Herb Jeffries, a singer whose forte was balladry and with whom Cano would collaborate off and on over the next decade. The pianist had his own bands going as early as 1948, but continued working with Jeffries, Bobby Ramos, and Tony Martinez. As a composer, Cano came up with a large repertoire, including the tasty "Algo Sabroso," the friendly "Cal's Pals," the wiggly "Watusi Walk," and the thrilling "Ecstasy"—not to mention "Honey Do," which could be a cross-genre answer song to Carl Perkins' popular "Honey Don't." While many of his peers concentrated on the peerless thrust of Latin rhythms, Cano hardly ignored this component but seemed equally intent on emphasizing the kind of complex, provocative harmonic and melodic structures associated with modern jazz.
Entry from Afro-Cuban Jazz by Scott Yanow: "Cano, Eddie (b 6 June '27, L.A., father Mexican, mother Mexican-American; d 30 Jan. '88, L.A.) Latin jazz pianist, leader, composer, arranger. Infl. by Noro Morales and Erroll Garner, he developed an inimitable rhythmic style, drive and ability to "lift" a band. Often in his numbers he'd switch styles from Latin (with Latin rhythm section) to straight jazz (accompanied by drum kit). Began classical piano studies at age five; played bass in junior high school and trombone in high school, where he became interested in jazz and decided to turn pro; an uncle introduced him to Duke Ellington's music; started working in local nightclub bands '43, playing both Latin and American dance music. Joined US Army '45, assigned to various military bands and completed a course in six months at L.A. Conservatory of Music '46."