Giovanni Hidalgo

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Giovanni Hidalgo
Background information
Born (1963-11-22) November 22, 1963 (age 60)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • 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 José Luis Quintana, a.k.a. Changuito. 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 his amputations, Giovanni Hidalgo has adapted his playing style and now often uses sticks, developing a new and innovative approach to his music. He sometimes still plays with his hands, incorporating his unique techniques into his performances.

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 Batacumbele

  • 1981: Con Un Poco De Songo (Tierrazo, TLP-008)
  • 1983: En Aquellos Tiempos (Tierrazo, TLP-0011)
  • 1987: Afro Caribbean Jazz (Montuno)
  • 1988: In Concert: Live at the University of Puerto Rico (Montuno)
  • 1999: Hijos del Tambó (Casa de los Tapes)

With Zaperoko

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

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)
  • 1992: The Other Side of This (Rykodisc)
  • 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

  • 1986: Word Up!Cameo (Mercury)
  • 1986: Llegó el Gavilán – Kim de los Santos (Pa'Lante Records)
  • 1989: Kim de los Santos – Kim de los Santos (Musical Productions)
  • 1992: Pintando LunasDomingo Quiñones (RMM)
  • 1993: Heroes – Hilton Ruiz (Telarc)
  • 1993: Danzon (Dance On) – Arturo Sandoval (GRP)
  • 1996: Evolucionando – Johnny Almendra (RMM)
  • 1997: Marching to MarsSammy Hagar (Universal)
  • 1998: Larry Harlow's Latin Legend BandLarry Harlow (Sony Discos)
  • 1998: Antiguo – Gonzalo Rubalcaba (Blue Note)
  • 1998: Havana Blues – Armando Rodriguez (Palmetto)
  • 2000: Rhythms for a New MillenniumAlex Acuña (Tonga)
  • 2000: Best Kept Secret – Ralph Irizarry (Shanachie)
  • 2000: Conga KingsCandido Camero (Chesky)
  • 2000: Galeria CaribeRicardo Arjona (Sony)
  • 2000: ImprintJohn Patitucci (Concord Jazz)
  • 2000: VoodooD'Angelo (Cheeba/Virgin)
  • 2001: Yo Por TiOlga Tañón (Warner Bros.)
  • 2001: TNT (Trombone-N-Tenor)Steve Turre (Telarc)
  • 2001: Jazz Descargas – Conga Kings (Chesky)
  • 2002: Mondo Head – Kodo (Red Ink)
  • 2002: Together AgainJuan Pablo Torres (MusicHaus)
  • 2002: Lo Bueno De La Vida – Orlando Poleo (Sony)
  • 2004: Body Acoustic – Body Acoustic (Chesky)
  • 2004: DesahogoVico-C (EMI)
  • 2004: My Music, My Friends, My Time – Oskar Cartaya (O.Y.E.)
  • 2004: Como Nunca...Como Siempre – Limi-T 21 (EMI Latin)
  • 2005: Sabor Cubano – Alina Izquierdo (Pimienta)
  • 2006: Descarga En CaliforniaRebeca Mauleon (Pimienta)
  • 2006: Masa Con MasaMillo Torres (Machete)
  • 2006: CodesIgnacio Berroa (Blue Note)
  • 2006: Telegrafia Sin HiloChanguito (Cacao Musica)
  • 2007: De Corazon A Corazon – Team Vip (Union Music Group)
  • 2007: Jazz, Baby! – Doug Beavers (Origin)
  • 2007: En Primera PlanaIssac Delgado (La Calle)
  • 2007: 90 MillasGloria Estefan (Solar Music Group)
  • 2008: Canto a America Latina – Andres Jimenez (Cuatro Menguante)


  • 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.