Candido Camero

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Candido Camero
Percussionist Candido Camero.jpg
At a concert in 2008
Background information
Birth name Candido de Guerra Camero
Born (1921-04-22) April 22, 1921 (age 95)
Genres Jazz, Afro-Cuban jazz, disco
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Conga, bongo, percussion
Labels ABC-Paramount, Blue Note, Roulette, Polydor, Salsoul, Chesky
Associated acts Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Wynton Kelly

Cándido de Guerra Camero, also known simply as Candido (born April 22, 1921) is a Cuban-born percussionist (mainly conga and bongo) and the most recorded conga drummer in the history of jazz. He also plays the tres (Cuban mandolin), drums, and acoustic bass. He has worked in many genres of popular music from pop, rock, R&B and disco to Afro-Cuban dance music and Latin jazz. He is the first player to develop techniques to play multiple conga drums, coordinated independence and the use of multiple percussion, one player playing a variety of percussion instruments simultaneously.


Early in his career, Camero recorded in his native Cuba with many of the early pioneers of the son movement as well as being the conga drummer for the Tropicana night club in Havana for eight years. He first appeared in NYC in the musical review, Tidbits, at the Plymouth Theater on Broadway in 1946 backing up the Cuban dance team of Carmen and Rolando. In 1948 he made his first U.S. recording with Machito and His Afro-Cubans on the tune, "El Rey Del Mambo." as well as working with Dizzy Gillespie. During 1953–54, he was in the Billy Taylor Trio and in 1954 he performed and recorded with Stan Kenton.[1][2]

He also enjoyed success during the disco era of the 1970s, most notably with the Babatunde Olatunji-penned track "Jingo" from his Dancin' and Prancin' album, which he recorded for Salsoul Records in 1979. The album has also been acknowledged as an influence and precursor to house music, predating the emergence of the genre by over five years.[3]

Camero was honored with the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award in 2008.[4]


As leader[edit]

  • Candido featuring Al Cohn (ABC-Paramount, 1956)
  • The Volcanic (ABC-Paramount, 1956)
  • Latin Fire (The Big Beat of Candido) (ABC-Paramount, 1959)
  • In Indigo (ABC-Paramount, c. 1960)
  • Conga Soul (Roulette, 1962)
  • Candido's Comparsa (ABC-Paramount, 1963)
  • Thousand Finger Man (Solid State, 1969, reissued by Blue Note)
  • Beautiful (Blue Note, 1970)
  • Brujerias de Candido/Candido's Latin McGuffa's Dust (Discos Fuentes, 1971)
  • Drum Fever (Polydor, 1973)
  • Dancin' and Prancin' (Salsoul, 1979)
  • Giovanni Hidalgo, Candido, Patato Valdes - The Conga Kings (Chesky, 2000)
  • Candido & Graciela – Inolvidable (Chesky, 2004)
  • Hands of Fire/Manos de fuego (Live) (Latin Jazz USA, 2008)
  • The Master (Chesky, 2014)

As sideman[edit]

With Gene Ammons

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Billy Taylor

With Bennie Green

With Art Blakey

With Kenny Burrell

With Don Elliott

  • The Don Elliott Octet Featuring Candido - Jamaica Jazz (ABC-Paramount, 1958)

With Stan Kenton

With the Lecuona Cuban Boys

  • Dance Along with the Lecuona Cuban Boys (ABC-Paramount, 1959)

With Randy Weston

With Sonny Rollins

With Norman Granz' Jazz at the Philharmonic

With Wynton Kelly

With Grant Green

With Illinois Jacquet

With Gary McFarland

With Wes Montgomery

With Tico All-Stars

With Bobby Hutcherson

  • Now! (Blue Note, 1969)

With Elvin Jones

With Ellen McIlwaine


  1. ^ "Candido Biography". Allmusic. Retrieved 4 April 2010. 
  2. ^ "Candido at All About Jazz". Retrieved 4 April 2010. 
  3. ^ Discogs: Post-Disco/Proto-House/Garage
  4. ^ "NEA Jazz Masters: Candido Camero, Percussionist". Retrieved 17 October 2011. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Candido Camero at Wikimedia Commons