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Cal Tjader

Cal Tjader was undoubtedly the most famous non-Latino leader of Latin jazz bands, an extraordinary distinction. From the 1950s until his death, he was practically the point man between the worlds of Latin jazz and mainstream bop; his light, rhythmic, joyous vibraphone manner could comfortably embrace both styles. His numerous recordings for Fantasy and Verve and long-standing presence in the San Francisco Bay Area eventually had a profound influence upon Carlos Santana, and thus Latin rock. He also played drums and bongos, the latter most notably on the George Shearing Quintet's puckishly titled "Rap Your Troubles in Drums," and would occasionally sit in on piano as well.

Tjader studied music and education at San Francisco State College before hooking up with fellow Bay Area resident Dave Brubeck as the drummer in the Brubeck Trio from 1949 to 1951. He then worked with Alvino Rey, led his own group, and in 1953, joined George Shearing's then hugely popular quintet as a vibraphonist and percussionist. It was in Shearing's band that Tjader's love affair with Latin music began, ignited by Shearing's bassist Al McKibbon, nurtured by contact with Willie Bobo, Mongo Santamaria, and Armando Peraza, and galvanized by the '50s mambo craze. When he left Shearing the following year, Tjader promptly formed his own band that emphasized the Latin element yet also played mainstream jazz. Bobo and Santamaria eventually joined Tjader's band as sidemen, and Vince Guaraldi served for a while as pianist and contributor to the band's songbook ("Ginza," "Thinking of You, MJQ"). Tjader recorded a long series of mostly Latin jazz albums for Fantasy from the mid-'50s through the early '60s, switching in 1961 to Verve, where under Creed Taylor's aegis he expanded his stylistic palette and was teamed with artists like Lalo Schifrin, Anita O'Day, Kenny Burrell, and Donald Byrd. Along the way, Tjader managed to score a minor hit in 1965 with "Soul Sauce," a reworking of Dizzy Gillespie/Chano Pozo's "Guacha Guaro," which Tjader had previously cut for Fantasy. Tjader returned to Fantasy in the 1970s, then in 1979 moved over to the new Concord Picante label, where he remained until his death. ~ Richard S. Ginell
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Plays Burt Bacharach

1. Money Penny Goes For Broke

2. What The World Needs Now

3. Anyone Who Had A Heart

4. Don't Make Me Over

5. A Message To Michael

6. My Little Red Book

7. I Say A Little Prayer

8. Walk On By

9. You'll Never Get To Heaven

x

Track List: Ultimate Cal Tjader

2. Sahib

3. Pantano

4. The Way You Look Tonight

5. Curacao

7. Borneo

8. Soul Bird (Tin Tin Deo)

9. Fuji

10. Sunset Boulevard

11. Leyte

12. China Nights (Shina No Yoru)

13. Daddy Wong Legs

14. Triste

15. The Prophet

16. Ritmo Uni

x

Track List: Several Shades Of Jade / Breeze From The East

1. The Fakir

2. Cherry Blossoms

3. Borneo

4. Tokyo Blues

5. Song Of The Yellow River

6. Sahib

7. China Nights (Shina No Yoru)

8. Almond Tree

9. Hot Sake

10. Sake And Greens

11. Cha

12. Leyte

13. Shoji

14. China Nights (Shina No Yoru) (Alt Trk)

15. Fuji

16. Black Orchid

17. Theme From Burke's Law

18. Stardust

19. Poinciana

20. East Of The Sun (And West Of The Moon)

21. Cha (Alt Trk)

22. Star Dust (Alt Trk)

x

Track List: Jazz 'Round Midnight

1. Hip Walk

2. Reza

3. 'round Midnight

4. Spring Is Here

5. Sunset Boulevard

6. Pantano

7. Under A Blanket Of Blue

8. Sone

9. Fuji

10. On Green Dolphin Street

11. Sally's Tomato

12. The Loner

13. Misty

14. Tanya

15. The Party's Over

16. Somewhere In The Night

x

Track List: Jazz Masters 39

1. Soul Sauce

2. Curacao

3. China Nights

4. The Whiffenpoof Song

5. Triste

6. Soul Bird

7. The Way You Look Tonight

8. Daddy Wong Legs

9. Tokyo Blues

10. Cuchy Frito Man

11. The Prophet

12. Borneo

13. Leyte

14. Hip Vibrations

15. Cal's Bluedo

16. Moanin'

x

Track List: Plugs In

2. Armando's Bossa

3. Why Did I Choose You

6. The Touch

7. Colorado Waltz

8. Alonzo

9. Lady Madonna

10. Nica's Dream

11. Spooky

12. St. Croix

13. Tra-La-La Song

14. Morning Mist

x

Track List: Soul Burst

1. Cuchy Frito Man

2. Descarga Cubana

3. Soul Burst (Guajera)

4. The Bilbao Song

5. Manteca

6. It Didn't End (N O Se Acabou)

7. My Ship

8. Morning

9. Oran

10. Cura Ao

x

Track List: Soul Sauce

1. Soul Sauce

3. Pantano

4. Somewhere in the Night

5. Maramoor Mambo

6. Tanya

7. Leyte

8. Spring is Here

9. Joao

11. Monkey Beams

13. Mamblues

x

Track List: Cal Tjader Plays The Contemporary Music Of Mexico And Brazil

1. Vai Querer

2. Que Tristeza

3. Meditacao

4. Sone

5. Se E Tarde, Me Perdoa

6. Nao Diga Nada

7. Silenciosa

8. Elizete

9. Imagen

10. Tentacao Do Inconveniente

11. Preciosa

12. Choro E Batuque

x

Track List: Latino

1. Manila

2. Key Largo

3. Tumbao

4. Bludan

5. Chispita

6. September Song

7. Cal's Pals

8. Para Ti

9. Mamblues

10. Afro Blue (1960) (Live)

11. Cuban Fantasy

12. Rezo

13. Mambo Terrifico

14. A Night In Tunisia (Live)

15. The Continental

x

Track List: Cal Tjader Plays, Mary Stallings Sings

1. Mighty Rumblin' Blues

2. It Ain't Necessarily So

3. God Bless The Child

4. Just Squeeze Me (But Don't Tease Me)

5. I Didn't Know About You

6. I'm Beginning To See The Light

7. Goodbye

8. Why Don't You Do Right?

9. Honeysuckle Rose

10. I'm Just a Lucky So And So

11. Ain't Misbehavin'

12. Mr. Blues

13. Just In Time

14. Why Don't You Do Right?

x

Track List: Tjader Plays Mambo

1. Yesterdays

2. Out Of Nowhere

3. Fascinating Rhythm

5. The Lady Is A Tramp

6. It Ain't Necessarily So

7. Have You Met Ms. Jones

8. For Heaven's Sake

9. Mambo Macumba

10. East Of The Sun

11. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen

12. I Concentrate On You

x

Track List: Afro Blue, Vol. 3

1. Out Of Nowhere

2. Yesterdays

3. Grant Avenue Suite

4. Viva Cepeda

5. Skyline Waltz

6. Union Square

7. Triple T Blues

8. Coit Tower

9. Sigmund Stern Groove

10. The Last Luff

13. The Lady Is A Tramp

14. It Ain't Necessarily So

15. Have You Met Miss Jones?

16. For Heaven's Sake

17. Mambo Macumba

18. East Of The Sun

x

Track List: Afro Blue, Vol. 4

x

Track List: Roots Of Acid Jazz

2. Manteca

4. Mambo In Miami

5. Triste

8. Soul Sauce

10. Maramoor Mambo

11. Insight

12. Tokyo Blues

13. Afro Blue

14. Cuando, Cuando, Que Sera?

15. Cal's Bluedo

16. Fuji

Comments

Report as inappropriate
obp6614cr
, I suddenly feel jaded once in 1972 I have a picture of him and I and the strange unknown woman. It was in Queens at some bar and they selling between Ian and I have been the following of him for years he's the best. Died in the Philippines in 1983 04 at the age of 53 for a massive heart attack.
Report as inappropriate
haacker77
I love you're song's they are so good I love them I love you
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I learned all my conga drum moves listening to his music. He is the musical light shining through my life. From day one he enchanted me. He created worlds of magic and fantasy.
I so enjoyed reading all comments here. So many of you have the same love of Cal Tjader and his music as I.

God bless us all.
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Tajader also recorded with and has grey influence in Eddie Palmieri a maestro of Latin music and winner of multiple Grammys....
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when tjader's music stops playing on any device - one still hears it in one's head long afterward and longer still one feels it in one's bones -
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smoke 1 if u got it n reeeeelax baby
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Good music
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First time hearing SOLAR HEAT
CLASSIC RECORDING !!!! Funky, soulful with FLOW ��
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Bamboleate
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obp6614cr
Have pleasure in sitting here with Cal Tjader in 1973. He undoubtedly was the best number position. In the same league with Tito Puente.
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"Walk On By"Cal T,A Badd Brotha
H-Town~Groov i n * 8 7 8 * ~ 6 m 1 4 y ~
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A SHOT OF BRANDY,A BEER, AND CAL TJADER,PALMI E R I , M O N G O AND WILLIE BOBO........ . . . . . . . . . ( S E M P E R FI) HOORAHHH
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yybbu
I learned long ago if Tjader's name was on the album ,it was going to be at the least very good. He is and worked only with the best.
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That is music carl tjader introduce the latin swing and brazilian beat and course mix with jazz with out doubt. Too the american audience
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IT'S GREAT MUSIC
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The great carl tjader
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I first heard/saw Cal Tjader at the Monterey Jazz Festival in '59 or '60, memory is a little fuzzy on that ! Have held in very high regard his Latin as well as the standards that he'd played over the years. I used to have all of his Fantasy LP's, one of which is Soul Sauce and it was a green album in color ! One of my favorite tracks of his all time is: Guacha Guaro or Soul Sauce. Then there's Doxie and Walkin' With Wally that was played every nite on KJAZ in Alameda, CA in the 1960's.
Report as inappropriate
fishpapa
who plays flute on the track Speak Low? - the live Cal Tjader album?
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haroldmcburn e y
People say this is Mongo Santamaria's bio? Explain the first sentence:' Cal Tjader was undoubtedly the most famous NON-LATINO leader of Latin jazz bands... What is the non-Latino name? Mongo, or Santamaria?? :)
Report as inappropriate
was unfortunate to see Cal t Jader at concerts by the sea. in a word incredible! nice person
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Living in SanFrancisco in the 50's & hangin out at the BlackHawk ,set my musical tastes forever.Tjad e r has always been my favorite.
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One of my favorites
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Classic, can always appreciate some Cal Tjader :-)
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I first listened to Cal as a High School student in New York, I enjoyed his music through an Air Force career. I last saw him perform in Santa Monica, CA in the 80's.
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I think it is sooooo f'n DOPE that Will Farrel found a way to play Cal Tjader in The Campaign, in the scene where he seduced Marty Huggins' ladymate.... . h e even expained to her about Cal Tjader!!! Soul Burst & Plugs In are my favorite L.P's off his work!!!!
Report as inappropriate
topcatcush
Cal Baby ,,, YEA , when the Band sets into the GROOVE , my spirit goes somewhere ,& I Dance .
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Fenomenal!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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ojisanruss2
It was this great jazz treasure, Cal Tjader, who playing with the Dave Brubeck Trio (!) on the radio turned me on to jazz while visiting my dad in San Francisco, circa 1951-2, the tune was How High The Moon - I still play it and have loved all his latin stuff since. Ah, music, especially this, is love........ . .
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gentleman's music, celestial, etc,,,,,,gre a t ! ! ! ! !
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luedw46
I never Knew that Mongo played brass drums, is that correct ?
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cef1953
Hello Pandora! This is a MONGO SANTAMARIA bio NOT Cal Tjader!!!
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Luv to have sex with miss w to this LOL
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cef1953
I feel sooooo good when I listen to Cal !!!!
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i love cal jjader music goning on 50 yr
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Sonny Boy...what a treat for the ears!
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When I was in law school in the late 60's I saw CTjader when he played a gig at a place called The Manor on Northern Blvd in Queens, N.Y. ...what a memory...not only did I listen to him but I was able to dance to his music. I also was able to speak with him during one of his breaks and he impressed me as a genuinely friendly and nice person. His arrangements are timeless.
Ramon
Report as inappropriate
Why is this bio about Mongo Santamaria?
When it should be about Cal Tjader.
Hardly anything said about him.
Pandora needs to change this.
Nice stuff by Tjader though.
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Great timbal solo!!!
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schapman6246
I saw Cal in L. A. (Hollywood?) in 1962.
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No one does it like Tjader, hell... the guy rolled with Santamaria, an idol in his own right. who wouldve guessed the xylophone could be on the same blissful league as a steel drum or a thrashing guitar solo? everyone my age needs to start listening to Tjader. now that's real swag
Report as inappropriate
ladyfox411
I remember listening to this with my mom as a little girl. This brings back really special memories.
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Listening to Curacao, written by the late Clare Fischer I believe. Cal was the original drummer with Dave Brubeck. I got to see a reunion of that trio in San Francisco in the 80's. I saw Cal many times, with Lonnie Hewitt (a great player in his own right), and with my buddy Harold 'Ratzo' Harris who played bass with him for a stretch in the 70's. Cal was understated in his playing but it is so smooth, so soothing, it conjures up tropical breezes, pina coladas, and Latin atmosphere. Love it.
Report as inappropriate
There was no one better than Cal; I had all of his vinyl except the one with the Dave Brubeck Octett. I met him in a store in Milbrea, Ca one Saturday afternoon and told him that...he laughed and said that I was doing better than him. He was great friends with Tito Puente; I watched a PBS probram filmed at Tito's club in New York. There were murals on the wall of all the great Afro-Cuban players. As he was telling about them, a huge mural of Cal was spotlighted. Tito said, And there is the
Report as inappropriate
louram2001
WHY MONGOS' BIO ON CAL'S PAGE?
Report as inappropriate
Tjader gave my old friend Lonnie Hewitt a spot...best time I saw Cal and ,sadly, the last time I talked to Lonnie, was in San Francisco in '75 when Cal did the warm up fot Tito Puente and his big band from N.Y.... incredable.
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lovin Cal
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I was lucky to see CAL playing at Disneyland 25th aniversary's in early ''80
Report as inappropriate
sarajoe67
One of the greatest recording artist in Latin Jazz, with an early influence for others to follow, and still gets Mongo's bio in his place. Give Ceasar what belongs to Ceasar, and to Cal what he deserves.Hg
Report as inappropriate
WOOOOOOOOOOO O O O O O O O O O W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W W ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! Amazing, So We are in Cuba too?
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A Soul Bridge
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