Sunday, June 21, 2009

Vibes man Cal Tjader

Shoshana - Vibraphonist Cal Tjader

Cal Tjader (1925 -1982) crafted a sleek and distinctive sound in the genre of Latin jazz. His cool jazz vibes atop Afro-Cuban rhythms made for a sonic signature that helped introduce the genre into a mainstream audience.

After high school in the San Francisco area and a stint in the Navy, Cal ended up at San Francisco State College, where he met up with Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond. Tjader graduated in 1950 with a minor in music. With Brubeck, Tjader hit the big time, and he liked it. The years between 1949 and 1951 were spent with Brubeck.

Then, after a short time as leader of his own group, Cal joined George Shearing's Quintet as featured vibraphonist and percussionist. While with Shearing Cal made frequent trips to New York and began listening to the Latin New York bands of Tito Puente and Machito. When Tjader left Shearing, he formed his own group again and began a prolific recording career for Fantasy records.

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