Sad Week-Armando Peraza R.I.P.

Posted on Apr 17, 2014

This week has ben filled with the sad news of the deaths of several monumental figures in music. Among them was the passing of extraordinary percussion master Armando Peraza.  I  wanted to share a few thoughts about Armando Peraza.  He was one of the most important percussionists who has ever performed and recorded in Latin music.  His influence and history encompasses over seven decades!  From performing in Cuba with such groups as Conjunto Rumbavana early in his career,  his associations have included collaborations with Tito Puente, George Shearing, Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria and Carlos Santana to name a few!

I had the good fortune to interview Perraza a few years back.   Peraza was an engaging interview..quite a colorful character who was very animated and loved to talk during the time that we shared together.   I broadcasted that interview later that same weekend as his tribute continued at Yoshis in Oakland.  On the bandstand, Armando was on fire with his unique technique of playing bongos and congas that evening.  Always the consummate professional, he made it look easy as he combined grace, power, passion and precision in his explosive solos.  Peraza was a renaissance man who was just as comfortable playing rock and funk as he was playing jazz and rumba.   He played on countless recording sessions but ironically only made one recording “Wild Thing” under his own name in 1968.  Peraza wasn’t that interested in being a leader of his own band but loved to make music well past his 80’s.  He was in semi retirement from performing at the time of his death.  Que Viva Armando Peraza!