Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria

Active - 1988 - 1988  |   Born - Jan 1, 1917   |   Died - Feb 1, 2003   |   Genres - Drama, Music

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A Grammy-winning Latin jazz musician who performed in Havana's legendary Tropicana Club, Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria would later find fame in New York City before releasing the massively popular album Mongo in 1959. A native of Havana who developed a widespread reputation for unique conga rhythms, Santamaria happily blended numerous musical genres in his 40-year career. After hitting it big with a 1963 recording of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man," the talented musician would garner a Grammy for his 1977 effort Amancer. Still recording well into the 1990s, film appearances by Santamaria included 1966's Made in Paris and 1988's Salsa. On February 1, 2003, Ramon "Mongo" Santamaria died in Miami after previously suffering a stroke and being held on life support. He was 85.