His first major exposure was when he joined George Shearing's band on the album The Shearing Spell. After leaving Shearing, Cal Tjader asked Bobo and Santamaria to become part of the Cal Tjader Modern Mambo Quintet, who released several albums as the mambo craze reached fever pitch in the late 50's. Reuniting with his mentor Santamaria in 1960, the pair released the album Sabroso! for the Fantasy label. He later formed his own group releasing Do That Thing/Guajira with Tico and Bobo's Beat and Let's Go Bobo for Roulette, without achieving huge penetration. After the runaway sucess of Tjaders Soul Sauce, in which he was heavily involved, Bobo formed a new band with the backing of the Verve label, releasing Spanish Grease, of which the title track is probably his most well known tune.
Highly successful at this attempt, Bobo released a further 7 albums with Verve. In the late 70's he moved out to Los Angeles, where he worked as a session musician for Carlos Santana among others, as well as being a regular in the band for The Bill Cosby Show. In the late seventies he recorded a couple of albums for Blue Note and Columbia records. He was married to Alicia. He died on September 15, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA. After a period of ill health, he died at the age of 49, succumbing to cancer. Alicia, wife of Willie, said: "He wanted to come to New York...he wanted to come home...he once said that a great artist always gets recognized at the end." Willie, the eldest son spoke: "One of my father's memorable words was 'music is an international language, anyone can follow the music."' Eric, the youngest son: "He wanted everyone to be happy, no sorrow...this is how his life was, happy, smiling, to have a good time." Discography With Cal Tjader Latino (Fantasy, 1958) Cal Tjader's Concert by the Sea (Fantasy, 1959) Cal Tjader's Latin Concert (Fantasy, 1959) West Side Story (Fantasy, 1960) Plays Harold Arlen (Fantasy, 1961) Live and Direct (Fantasy, 1962) Breeze from the East (Verve, 1964) Soul Sauce (Verve, 1965 Discography As leader Do That Thing/Guajira (Tico, 1963) Bobo's Beat (Roulette, 1964) Let's Go Bobo! (Roulette, 1964) Spanish Grease (Verve, 1965) Uno Dos Tres 1•2•3 (Verve, 1966) Feelin' So Good (Verve, 1967) Juicy (Verve, 1967) Bobo Motion (Verve, 1967) Spanish Blues Band (Verve, 1968) A New Dimension (Verve, 1968) Do What You Want to Do (Sussex, 1971) Tomorrow Is Here (Blue Note, 1977) Hell Of An Act To Follow (Columbia, 1978) Bobo (Columbia, 1979) Lost & Found (Concord Picante, 2006) Dig My Feeling (Nacional Records 2016) With Don Wilkerson Elder Don (Blue Note, 1962) As sideman With Nat Adderley Autobiography (Atlantic, 1965) With Dorothy Ashby The Fantastic Jazz Harp of Dorothy Ashby (Atlantic, 1965) With Bob Brookmeyer Trombone Jazz Samba (Verve, 1962) With Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis Goin' to the Meeting (Prestige, 1962) With Miles Davis Quiet Nights (Columbia, 1964) Sorcerer (Columbia, 1967) With Victor Feldman Latinsville! (Contemporary, 1960) With José Feliciano Angela (Private Stock, 1976) With Grant Green The Latin Bit (Blue Note, 1962) With Chico Hamilton Chic Chic Chico (Impulse!, 1965) El Chico (Impulse!, 1965) The Further Adventures of El Chico (Impulse!, 1966) With Slide Hampton Explosion! The Sound of Slide Hampton (Atlantic, 1962) With Herbie Hancock Inventions and Dimensions (Blue Note, 1964) With Eddie Harris Bad Luck Is All I Have (Atlantic, 1975) With Bobby Hutcherson Montara (Blue Note, 1975) With Herbie Mann Right Now (Atlantic, 1962) Brazil, Bossa Nova & Blues (United Artists, 1962) Herbie Mann Live at Newport (Atlantic, 1963) My Kinda Groove (Atlantic, 1965) Latin Mann (Columbia, 1965) Our Mann Flute (Atlantic, 1966) The Beat Goes On (Atlantic, 1967) With Les McCann McCanna (Pacific Jazz, 1964) Much Les (Atlantic, 1968) With Gary McFarland Soft Samba (Verve, 1963) With Buddy Miles Chapter VII (Columbia, 1973) With Wes Montgomery Movin' Wes (Verve, 1964) With Oliver Nelson Skull Session (Flying Dutchman, 1975) With Dave Pike Limbo Carnival (New Jazz, 1962) Manhattan Latin (Decca, 1964) With Tito Puente Cuban Carnival (RCA Victor, 1956) With Ike Quebec Soul Samba (Blue Note, 1962) With Terry Reid River (Atlantic, 1973) With Dannie Richmond "In" Jazz for the Culture Set (Impulse!, 1965) With Charlie Rouse Bossa Nova Bacchanal (Blue Note, 1963) With A.
K. Salim Afro-Soul/Drum Orgy (Prestige, 1965) With Mongo Santamaria Mighty Mongo (Fantasy, 1962) Viva Mongo! (Fantasy, 1962) With Doc Severinsen Rhapsody For Now! (RCA, 1973) With Sonny Stitt Stitt Goes Latin (Roost, 1963) With Gábor Szabó Spellbinder (Impulse!, 1966) With Clark Terry Mumbles (Mainstream, 1966) Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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