Bronx-born Bobby Matos has been playing Afro-Cuban rhythms for many years. He was there, in New York, when the Salsa boom was about to start and take over the minds and souls of a generation that was craving for a musical revolution that would bring them pride and happiness.
Born in a Puerto Rican family, Bobby Matos began playing music playing pots and pans in his grandmother’s apartment and went on to backstage informal lessons with conga drum masters Patato Valdés and Mongo Santamaria.
His first gigs were in the early 6s beat bohemian Greenwich Village Cafes, but he soon found himself playing in every type of venue; from Bronx dance halls to Carnegie Hall, to elegant supper clubs, Central Park Concerts, Off Broadway theaters, and After Hours clubs in El Barrio.
He was inspired and encouraged to play timbales by Willie Bobo and Tito Puente, and in the late 1960s attended the New School and Manhattan School of Music studying composition and arranging. Around this exciting time for Latin Music in New York, he recorded My Latin Soul, in 1968. This recording eventually became a much prized cult classic influencing many 197s and 8s Acid Jazz groups on both sides of the Atlantic.
After touring and recording with artists like Ben Vereen, Bette Midler, Fred Neil, Jim Croce, Ray Rivera, Joe Loco, Miriam Makeeba, and many others, Bobby moved to Los Angeles where he began experimenting with an Afro-Cuban Jazz band where he could blend (and twist) musical elements from Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Wayne Shorter, Eddie Palmieri, and the rich legacy of Afro-Cuban music.
In the 1980s and 90s, he recorded several albums, most notably 5 critically acclaimed CDs for Ubiquity Records’ Cubop label. He also produced CDs for Ray Armando, Pucho and the Latin Soul Brothers, Dave Pike, John Santos, and Jack Costanzo.
My Latin Soul (Philips, 1968)
Collage-Afro Cuban Jazz (Night Life, 1993)
Chango’s Dance (Cubop Records, 1995)
Footprints (Cubop Records, 1996)
Sessions (Cubop Records, 1998)
Live at M.O.C.A. (Cubop Records, 1999)
Mambo Jazz (Cubop Records, 2001)
Made By Hand (Lifeforce Jazz, 2004)
Charanga Chango (Lifeforce Jazz, 2006)
Acknowledgement (Lifeforce, 2006)
Gratitude (Lifeforce, 2007)
Beautiful As the Moon (2012)
Ritmo & Blues (2014)
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several 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 and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.