Widely acknowledged among the greatest congueros of his generation, Giovanni Hidalgo was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1963, first taking up the drums five years later
The son of the noted percussionist Jose “Manengue” Hidalgo, he was educated in Latin rhythms from childhood onward, and as a teen regularly walked to local gigs with his congas strapped to his back. He soon caught the attention of the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, touring in his United Nations All-Star Orchestra for four years.
Hidalgo also became a noted session player, recording with Freddie Hubbard, Paul Simon and Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum project. In 1992, he recorded his debut solo LP, Villa Hidalgo; Worldwide followed a year later.
1997’s Hands of Rhythm collaboration with pianist Michel Camilo, earned Hidalgo a Grammy nomination in the Best Latin Jazz Album category.
His Greatest Hits collection followed the next year.
Berklee College of Music presented an honorary doctor of music degree to Giovanni Hidalgo in 2010. Hidalgo taught in Berklee’s percussion department from 1992-1996.
* Villa Hidalgo (Messidor, 1992)
* Worldwide (RMM Records, 1993)
* Time Shifter (RMM Records, 1995)
* Hands of Rhythm, with Michel Camilo (RMM Records, 1997)
* The Best of Giovanni Hidalgo (RMM records, 1998)
* Conga Kings, with the Conga Kings (Chesky Records, 2000)
* Jazz Descargas, with the Conga Kings (Chesky Records, 2001)
* Silver Gold (Incipit, 2009)
* Mano a Mano, with Michel Camilo (Emarcy, 2011)
* Mysterium Tremendum, with Mickey Hart Band (360° Productions, 2012)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.