Willie Bobo was one of the key players who fused
influences from Latin soul, rock, and jazz in the late
1960s and 1970s. Willie went on to become an important
band leader, whose music reflected the traditions of
Spanish and Black Harlem.
Born William Correa of Puerto Rican parents, in 1934,
Willie was raised in New York City. In 1947, he worked as
a band boy for Machito’s Afro-Cubans, one of the most
popular Latin music ensembles of the era. Late at night,
during the last set, he was sometimes allowed to sit in on
bongos, getting his first taste of performing on a
bandstand in the company of world class musicians.
Good fortune led him to the side of Cuban conga legend
Ramon “Mongo” Santamaria, a recent arrival in the Big
Apple from Havana