On February 1st, back in 2003, conga player Mongo Santamaria passed on. Like all jazz drummers, some people have never even heard of him. But those who knew his name remember him fondly.
After the jump, we've complied a little bit more, primarily as a tribute to the man himself. But we also hope you'll find this a way to clear out those Monday morning blues. Get out those headphones and enjoy!
Mongo Santamaria was born in the Cuba of the early 20th Century, and he liked to bang on things with his hands. That's the story of hundreds of percussionists, probably. But not all those percussionists play music like this:
In these songs (which hopefully stay up long enough for you to hear them completely) you'll find passion and an honest joy, and that could be one of the reasons why Mongo Santamaria is still being sampled even today. He's also credited with being one of the major figures in bringing Afro-Cuban rhythms into R&B and Soul, which means he's sort of connected to almost every hip hop artist today. Even if his music isn't your thing, you can't deny that's one heck of an honor.
We know, of course, that a few quick paragraphs will never do the man justice through words. But why would a drummer really care about words? If you want to learn his history, look him up. If you want to enjoy his legacy, listen to the music.
Thanks for the music, Mongo Santamaria. And rest in peace.