Chano Pozo

Luciano Pozo González, better known as Chano Pozo (January 7, 1915 in Havana - December 3, 1948 in New York City) was an Afro-Cuban jazz percussionist, singer, dancer and composer who played a major role in the founding of Latin jazz. Although he lived but 33 years, no discussion of Latin jazz is complete without mention of his name and no discussion of trumpet giant Dizzy Gillespie, the godfather of Latin jazz in the U.S., can begin without the name of Pozo, who was the first in a long line of Latin percussionists in Dizzy's various bands. Dizzy's dozens of Latin-flavored compositions, including the hit song "Manteca" and "Tin Tin Deo" (both co-written by Pozo), "Fiesta Mojo" and others - have Afro-Cuban drumming derived from the ritual rhythms of West Africa as their rhythmic backbones. Despite a short stint in Dizzy's band abbreviated by Chano's early death, Pozo's influence could be felt in Dizzy's playing and compositions for decades, which Dizzy acknowledged without hesitation. ...show more

Luciano Pozo González, better known as Chano Pozo (January 7, 1915 in Havana - December 3, 1948 in New York City) was an Afro-Cuban jazz percussionist, singer, dancer and composer who played a major role in the founding of Latin jazz. Although he lived but 33 years, no discussion of Latin jazz is complete without mention of his name and no discussion of trumpet giant Dizzy Gillespie, the godfather of Latin jazz in the U.S., can begin without the name of Pozo, who was the first in a long line of Latin percussionists in Dizzy's various bands. Dizzy's dozens of Latin-flavored compositions, including the hit song "Manteca" and "Tin Tin Deo" (both co-written by Pozo), "Fiesta Mojo" and others - have Afro-Cuban drumming derived from the ritual rhythms of West Africa as their rhythmic backbones. Despite a short stint in Dizzy's band abbreviated by Chano's early death, Pozo's influence could be felt in Dizzy's playing and compositions for decades, which Dizzy acknowledged without hesitation.

Luciano "Chano" Pozo Gonzales was born in Havana to Cecelio Gonzales and Carnación Pozo. Chano's family (three sisters and a brother, as well as his older half brother, Felix Chapotin who became one of the great Cuban soneros) struggled with poverty throughout his youth. His mother died when Chano was eleven, and Cecelio took his family to live with his long-time mistress, Natalia, who was Felix's mother. Chano showed an early interest in playing drums, and performed ably in Afro-Cuban religious ceremonies in which drumming was a key element.

The family lived for many years at El Africa solar (Africa Basement), a former slave quarters, by all accounts a foul and dangerous place, where it was said even the police were afraid to venture. In this environment criminal activities flourished, and Chano learned the ways of the street as means of survival. He dropped out of school after the third grade and earned a solid reputation as a rowdy tough guy, big for his age and exceptionally fit. He spent his days playing drums, fighting, drinking, and engaging in petty criminal activities, the latter of which would land him a sentence in a youth reformatory. ...show less

Albums & Singles by Chano Pozo