Percussionist Daniel Ponce, who died on March 10 at 60, first arrived in the U.S. from Cuba in Miami, in September 1980, as part of the Mariel Boatlift. He soon made his way to New York City where, the story goes, bassist Andy González “discovered” him. He became a regular presence at Soundscape, an important outpost for Afro-Latin influence in New York in the 1980s (you can find a recording of him there in 1982, with Ray Romero, Patato Valdes and Orlando “Puntilla” Rios here). He made an indelible impression on New York’s vital Afro-Latin scene in all its expressions. “New York Now” (Celluloid), his first recording is a percussionist classic, with musicians including saxophonist Paquito D’Rivera; it is aptly named because it captured a moment of musical transition and cross-cultural transmission. Ponce recorded with a wide range of musicians, including Herbie Hancock, Laurie Anderson, and Bootsy Collins.
Ponce will be honored at a memorial in New York on Monday, featuring, among others, Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra; David Oquendo y Raices Habaneras, and Michele Rosewoman.
DANIEL PONCE – HOMENAJE PARA UN RUMBERO – Monday June 17, 2013
St. Peter’s Church – 619 Park Avenue at 54th Street – 7 pm doors 6:30
FOR MORE INFORMATION – Contact: Verna Gillis/SOUNDSCAPE
845 626 4038
According to Arturo O’Farrill, whose father, composer and bandleader Chico O’Farrill worked with Ponce: “In the tradition of Chano Pozo, Candido Camero and Patato Valdes, Daniel Ponce represented the best of Cuban conguero mastery. His work with Herbie Hancock, Paquito D’Rivera and Chico O’Farrill set the standards for groove, excellence and swing.”
Image: Verna Gillis