Congas y mas

Ray Armando & His Playground Quintet
Mallet Hands


1. Con Mi Guaguanco
2. Boxer
3. Eighty One
4. Mallet Hands
5. Take The 'A' Train
6. Soko
7. Elizete
8. In Sid's Thing
9. As We Were


Ray Armando (whistles, congas, percussion);
Ben Clatworthy (saxophone);
Jorge Valentin Griffin, Theo Sanders (piano);
Eddie Resto (bass);
Enzo Todesco (drums);
Robertino Melendez (bongos, shekere, bells);
Jose "Papo" Rodriguez (bongos, bells).
By Egidio Leitao

Ray Armando has appeared on some of the greatest jazz and Latin albums of all time and has played with Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Joao Gilberto, Nina Simone, Gato Barbieri, Tito Puente and Lionel Hampton, just to name a few. After all these years-he started his involvement with Latin percussion at age 8-he finally has an album of his own.

Mallet Hands, produced by Bobby Matos, is a collection of nine original compositions featuring heavyweight players Ben Clatworthy (tenor sax), George Griffin and Theo Sanders (piano), Eddie Resto (bass), Enzo Tolesco (drums) and Robertito Melendez and Jose "Papo" Rodriguez (bongos). These players do some incredible work. Clatworthy's tenor solos are stunning, and his interplay with Griffin and Sanders is a knockout on the delectable closing track, "Con Mi Guaguanco."

Despite all the talented sidemen, however, your attention is never far from Armando's awesome percussive pyrotechnics. Billy Strayhorn's classic "Take the 'A' Train," for example, is transformed into an infectious, swinging samba. Armando's use of a Brazilian cu¡ca is astounding.

Mallet Hands is a roller-coaster trip of rhythms.


Born on January 27, 1939 in Brooklyn, the young Armando would listen closely to his father’s Machito and Arsenio Rodriguez records and to the voice of his mother, a professional singer, dancer, and actress. While his dreams of becoming a baseball player were never realized, he did manage to become skilled on the conga drums at an early age.

He was first involved with Latin percussion through his uncle at the age of 8. His first real influence and teacher was Mongo Santamaria, who lived across the street from his family. At the age of fifteen, he went on the road with Elmo Garcia’s Big Band. After paying his dues with Garcia, he went on to work with the Mambo King himself, Tito Puente, with whom he would play at the legendary Palladium in New York City. After his stint with Puente, he continued his studies in percussion instruments and guitar compositions, delving into elements of harmony, theory and counterpoint.

No comments: