‘Patato’ Dies

Grammy-winning Latin jazz and conga master Carlos "Patato" Valdez, 81, died of respiratory failure in a Cleveland, Ohio, hospital December 3rd.

A resident of New York City, Valdez rose to stardom in the 1940’s in his hometown of Havana, where he played with such important groups as Sonora Matancera and Conjunto Casino. He came to the U.S. in the early 1950s, performing and recording with such luminaries as Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Art Blakey and Herbie Mann.

Valdez most recently toured with the Conga Kings and appeared at the San Francisco Jazz Festival November 9th, where he complained of breathing problems.