The Jazz Education Network (JEN) created a new award called "Keepers of the Flame: LeJENds of Latin Jazz." Presented at the annual JEN Conference in January, the award's first recipient was NEA Jazz Master Candido Camero.
The Cuban-born percussionist is credited with being one of the first percussionists to bring conga drumming to jazz, and known for his contributions to the development of mambo and Afro-Cuban jazz. As a featured soloist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra in the 1950s, Candido created a unique playing style by tuning his 3 congas to specific pitches so that he could play melodies like a pianist. He became one of the best known congueros in the US. Candido will be 93 this year, and he's still touring.
The Jazz Education Network is a global non-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in the United States of America that seeks to advance jazz education, promote performance and develop new audiences. JEN was founded in 2008 in Chicago and now has over 1,500 members in 23 countries, every USA state and 7 Canadian provinces. The Jazz Education Network is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance, and developing new audiences.
With thanks to the Jazz Video Guy, Bret Primack, here's Candido's performance with the North Texas State Latin Jazz Lab band from the JEN conference in Dallas:
Listen for the legends of Latin Jazz on Jazz Caliente, Thursdays at 2 p.m. on KPLU's Midday Jazz!