Giovanni Hidalgo

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Giovanni Hidalgo
Giovanni Hidalgo.jpg
Background information
Born (1963-11-22) November 22, 1963 (age 59)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
GenresLatin jazz, world music
Occupation(s)Musician, educator

Giovanni Hidalgo a.k.a. "Mañenguito" (born November 22, 1963) is a Latin jazz percussionist.

Early years[edit]

Hidalgo was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he received his primary education. His grandfather was a musician, and his father, José Manuel Hidalgo "Mañengue", was a renowned conga player. Hidalgo was raised in a household surrounded by drums, bongos, congas, and timbales.[1] For his eighth birthday, he received a conga which was handmade by his father. As a young child he practiced and developed his skills on the conga and on other instruments in his house. Hidalgo would drum a tune with sticks and then play the same tune with his hands.[2]

Music career[edit]

Hidalgo auditioned and was hired by the Batacumbele Band in 1980. In 1981, he traveled with the band to Cuba, where he met a musician by the name Changuito, a.k.a. José Luis Quintana. They created a style of rhythm that ushered in a new era in Latin music.[1][2]

In 1985, Hidalgo was performing with Eddie Palmieri at the Village Gate in New York City when Dizzy Gillespie walked in and listened to him play. Gillespie was so impressed with Hidalgo that he told him that someday in the future they must get together and play. In 1988 Hidalgo joined Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra.[1]

In 1992, Hidalgo was hired as an adjunct professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He taught many types of rhythm: Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican, reggae, African, and jazz. He held this academic position until 1996.

During his career, he has worked with Bola Abimbola, Sikiru Adepoju, Art Blakey, Muruga Booker, Jack Bruce, Don Byron, Candido Camero, D'Angelo, Paulinho da Costa, Steve Gadd, Sammy Hagar, Kip Hanrahan, Zakir Hussain, Cassius Khan, Airto Moreira, Charlie Palmieri, Tito Puente, Hilton Ruiz, Paul Simon, and Carlos "Patato" Valdes.

On October 31, 2010, he performed with the rock band Phish during their Halloween concert. The band performed Waiting for Columbus by Little Feat with Hildalgo on percussion (with the exception of "Don't Bogart That Joint", which was performed a cappella) and a brass section of Aaron Johnson, Stuart Bogie, Ian Hendrickson, Michael Leonhart, and Eric Biondo.[3]

In October 2016, the ring finger of his left hand was amputated due to an infection related to diabetes. In March, 2017 a benefit for him was held at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts in the Bronx, New York to assist him with his expenses.[4] Since that time much of his left-hand playing has been done with a stick.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1991 Hidalgo received a Grammy Award for his contribution to the album Planet Drum (Rykodisc, 1991), performed by an ensemble of the same name led by Mickey Hart of The Grateful Dead. He played on another one of Hart's Grammy-winning albums, Global Drum Project and on the album Danzón (Dance On) (GRP, 1993) by Arturo Sandoval which won the 1995 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Performance. Hands of Rhythm (RMM, 1997), Hidalgo's album with Michel Camilo, received a Grammy nomination, as did The Body Acoustic (Chesky, 2004), al album recorded by Hidalgo, David Chesky, Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, and Andy Gonzalez.

In May 2010, Hidalgo was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music during the sixteenth consecutive year that faculty members from the school visited Puerto Rico for one of its global outreach programs.[5]


As leader[edit]

  • 1992 Villa Hidalgo (Pimienta)
  • 1993 Worldwide (RMM)
  • 1995 Time Shifter (RMM)
  • 1997 Hands of Rhythm (RMM)
  • 1999 Best Friends (Sony)[6]

As sideman[edit]

With Zaperoko

  • 1984 - Still Crazy (Montuno)
  • 1986 - Tarde en la Noche (Zap's)
  • 2006 - Zaperoko 3 (Libertad)

With Batacumbele

  • 1981 - Con Un Poco De Songo (Disco Hit)
  • 1987 - Afro Caribbean Jazz (Montuno)
  • 1988 - In Concert: Live at the University of Puerto Rico (Montuno)

With Dave Valentin

  • 1987 - Mind Time (GRP)
  • 1988 - Live at the Blue Note (GRP)

With Kip Hanrahan

  • 1985 - Few Short Notes From the End Run (Justin Time)
  • 1990 - Tenderness (Yellowbird)
  • 1995 - All Roads Are Made of the Flesh (American Clave)

With Airto Moreira

  • 1986 - Aqui Se Puede (Montuno)
  • 1989 - Samba De Flora (Montuno)
  • 2000 - Homeless
  • 2003 - Life After That (Narada)

With Hilton Ruiz

  • 1992 - Manhattan Mambo Soundtrack (Telarc)
  • 1992 - Live at Birdland (Candid)
  • 1995 - Hands on Percussion (RMM)

With Paquito D'Rivera

  • 1987 - Celebration (Columbia)
  • 1990 - Reunion (Termidor)

With Eddie Palmieri

  • 1984 -Palo Pá Rumba (Fania)
  • 1985 -Solito (Fania)
  • 1987 -The Truth-La Verdad (Fania)
  • 2005 - Listen Here! (Concord)

With Jazz Hamilton

  • 2008 -My Soul (Akoustik)

With The Brian Lynch / Eddie Palmieri Project

  • 2006 - Simpático (ArtistShare)

With Tito Puente

  • 1992 - Live at the Village Gate (Tropi Jazz)
  • 1993 - Golden Latin Jazz All Stars in Session (RMM)
  • 2002 - Live at the Playboy Jazz Festival (Playboy Jazz)

With Mickey Hart

With Flora Purim

  • 1992 - Queen of the Night(Sound Wave)
  • 1994 - Speed of Light (Meltdown/B&W)
  • 2002 - Flora Purim Sings Milton Nascimento (Narada)
  • 2005 - Flora's Song (Narada)

With Humberto Ramirez

  • 1992 - Jazz Project (Tropi Jazz)
  • 1993 - Aspects (RMM)
  • 1999 - Best Friends (Sony Discos)

With Michel Camilo

  • 1994 - One More Once (Columbia)
  • 2011 - Mano a Mano (EmArcy/Pgd)

With Freddie Hubbard

  • 1991 - Bolivia (Musicmasters)
  • 1998 - God Bless the Child (Musicmasters)

With Dizzy Gillespie

With McCoy Tyner

  • 1999 - McCoy Tyner & The Latin All-Stars (Telarc)
  • 2007 - Afro Blue (Telarc)

With Jerry Rivera

  • 1990 - Abriendo Puertas (Discos CBS)
  • 2009 - DOS Clasicos (Sony)

With others


  • 1995 - Conga Virtuoso (DVD) Warner Bros.
  • 1996 - In The Tradition (DVD) Warner Bros.
  • 2004 - Traveling Through Time (with Horacio Hernandez) (DVD) Music Video Distributors

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Drummer World
  2. ^ a b Congahead interview Archived 2008-05-09 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Phish Covers
  4. ^ "Eddie Palmieri and Others to Play Benefit for Drummer Giovanni Hidalgo".
  5. ^ "Berklee in Puerto Rico - JazzTimes". Archived from the original on 2017-02-22. Retrieved 2017-02-21.
  6. ^ "Giovanni Hidalgo | Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 11 April 2017.