CLEVELAND (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Latin Jazz conga musician Carlos Valdés, better known as Patato died on Tuesday in Cleveland of respiratory failure at the age of 81.
Hailing from Havana, Valdés rose to prominence in the jazz scene during the 1960s and 50s, playing with legendary groups like Conjunto Casino.
After emigrating to the US in the 1950s, he took up residence in New York where he performed with many of the Jazz luminaries of his age, including Tito Puente and Dizzy Gillespie. His virtuosity and flamboyant stage presence made him a popular live performance musician.
He was instrumental in the evolution of Latin Jazz, particularly rumbas as seen in his influential 1968 album recorded with singer Eugenio Arango entitled "Patato & Totico".
According to the New York Times, Valdés toured regularly, working most recently with the Conga Kings and was flying back from a gig when he became ill, requiring an emergency landing in Cleveland where he was hospitalized until his death. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers