1915-1948. A conga/bongo player from Havana, who helped popularize "the latin tinge" in modern jazz. Dizzy Gillespie had become enamored with Cuban music while in Cab Calloway's orchestra, and, when he formed his own, added the Afro-Cuban percussion of Pozo to his rhythm section (who were themselves later to form the Modern Jazz Quartet); it gave Gillespie another unique niche in bebop besides his trumpet playing and improvisational concepts - not only did he also translate the small-group genre of bop to the larger, big-band context, but he also helped introduce the rhythmic elements of future US musical Latinmanias (including this current one).

Pozo joined in 1947, and co-wrote (with Gillespie) "Manteca", which soon passed into the jazz canon, and (with arranger Gil Fuller) "Tin Tin Deo"; "Cubano Be / Cubano Bop" was written by George Russell with the latin-fied Gillespie big band in mind. The success of Pozo's contributions opened the door for Latin Jazz (or Cu-Bop, or Afro-Cuban Jazz) to be commercially viable. Machito and his brother-in-law Mario Bauza (the man who turned Diz on to Cuban music, when they were with Calloway) formed a successful band. Later on, the bands of Tito Puente, his conga player Mongo Santamaria, and Cal Tjader became popular; various percussionists were in-demand for recording dates; the mambo and other such dances would go mainstream in a big way. Santana, anyone? The band's lineage includes Cuban and Nuyorican percussionists who were either peers of Pozo, or were inspired by him.

Pozo himself, though he recorded with a who's-who of modern jazz in the 40s (Charlie Parker, Fats Navarro, Tadd Dameron, and others), missed out on the career benefits of the doors he helped open; he died in a Harlem barroom fight in late 1948.

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