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Willie Bobo was the stage name of William Correa (February 28, 1934 – September 15, 1983), a Latin and jazz percussionist of Puerto Rican ancestry.
His youngest son, Eric Bobo (Eric Correa), is a percussionist with crew Cypress Hill. He also performed on the Beastie Boys' 1994 album Ill Communication, as well as doing the 1994 Lollapalooza tour with the group

His grandson William Valen Correa, son of Bobo's first son William Gill Correa, is Co-Founder of the music-based non-profit organization HNDP Los Angeles.

Willie Bobo, who grew up in Spanish Harlem, New York made his name in Latin Jazz in the 1960's and 70's, with the timbales becoming his favoured instrument. He met Mongo Santamaria shortly after his arrival in New York and studied with him while acting as his translator, and later joined Tito Puente for 4 years from the age of 19. During the early 50's the nickname Bobo is said to have been bestowed by the jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams. His first major exposure was when he joined George Shearing's band on the album The Shearing Spell. After leaving Shearing, Cal Tjader asked Bobo and Santamaria to become part of the Cal Tjader Modern Mambo Quintet, who released several albums as the mambo craze reached fever pitch in the late 50's. Reuniting with his mentor Santamaria in 1960, the pair released the album Sabroso! for the Fantasy label. He later formed his own group releasing Do That Thing/Guajira with Tico and Bobo's Beat and Let's Go Bobo for Roulette, without achieving huge penetration.

After the runaway sucess of Tjaders Soul Sauce, in which he was heavily involved, Bobo formed a new band with the backing of the Verve label, releasing Spanish Grease, of which the title track is probably his most well known tune. Highly successful at this attempt, Bobo released a further 7 albums with Verve.

In the late 70's he moved out to Los Angeles, where he worked as a session musician for Carlos Santana among others, as well as being a regular in the band for The Bill Cosby Show. In the late seventies he recorded a couple of albums for Blue Note and Columbia records.

He was married to Alicia. He died on September 15, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA. After a period of ill health, he died at the age of 49, succumbing to cancer.
Alicia, wife of Willie, said: "He wanted to come to New York…he wanted to come home…he once said that a great artist always gets recognized at the end." Willie, the eldest son spoke: "One of my father's memorable words was 'music is an international language, anyone can follow the music."' Eric, the youngest son: "He wanted everyone to be happy, no sorrow…this is how his life was, happy, smiling, to have a good time."

Discography With Cal Tjader
Latino (Fantasy, 1958)
Cal Tjader's Concert by the Sea (Fantasy, 1959)
Cal Tjader's Latin Concert (Fantasy, 1959)
West Side Story (Fantasy, 1960)
Plays Harold Arlen (Fantasy, 1961)
Live and Direct (Fantasy, 1962)
Breeze from the East (Verve, 1964)
Soul Sauce (Verve, 1965

Discography As leader
Do That Thing/Guajira (Tico, 1963)
Bobo's Beat (Roulette, 1964)
Let's Go Bobo! (Roulette, 1964)
Spanish Grease (Verve, 1965)
Uno Dos Tres 1•2•3 (Verve, 1966)
Feelin' So Good (Verve, 1967)
Juicy (Verve, 1967)
Bobo Motion (Verve, 1967)
Spanish Blues Band (Verve, 1968)
A New Dimension (Verve, 1968)
Do What You Want to Do (Sussex, 1971)
Tomorrow Is Here (Blue Note, 1977)
Hell Of An Act To Follow (Columbia, 1978)
Bobo (Columbia, 1979)
Lost & Found (Concord Picante, 2006)
Dig My Feeling (Nacional Records 2016)

With Don Wilkerson
Elder Don (Blue Note, 1962)

As sideman
With Nat Adderley

Autobiography (Atlantic, 1965)
With Dorothy Ashby

The Fantastic Jazz Harp of Dorothy Ashby (Atlantic, 1965)
With Bob Brookmeyer

Trombone Jazz Samba (Verve, 1962)
With Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

Goin' to the Meeting (Prestige, 1962)
With Miles Davis

Quiet Nights (Columbia, 1964)
Sorcerer (Columbia, 1967)
With Victor Feldman

Latinsville! (Contemporary, 1960)
With José Feliciano

Angela (Private Stock, 1976)
With Grant Green

The Latin Bit (Blue Note, 1962)
With Chico Hamilton

Chic Chic Chico (Impulse!, 1965)
El Chico (Impulse!, 1965)
The Further Adventures of El Chico (Impulse!, 1966)
With Slide Hampton

Explosion! The Sound of Slide Hampton (Atlantic, 1962)
With Herbie Hancock

Inventions and Dimensions (Blue Note, 1964)
With Eddie Harris

Bad Luck Is All I Have (Atlantic, 1975)
With Bobby Hutcherson

Montara (Blue Note, 1975)
With Herbie Mann

Right Now (Atlantic, 1962)
Brazil, Bossa Nova & Blues (United Artists, 1962)
Herbie Mann Live at Newport (Atlantic, 1963)
My Kinda Groove (Atlantic, 1965)
Latin Mann (Columbia, 1965)
Our Mann Flute (Atlantic, 1966)
The Beat Goes On (Atlantic, 1967)
With Les McCann

McCanna (Pacific Jazz, 1964)
Much Les (Atlantic, 1968)
With Gary McFarland

Soft Samba (Verve, 1963)
With Buddy Miles

Chapter VII (Columbia, 1973)
With Wes Montgomery

Movin' Wes (Verve, 1964)
With Oliver Nelson

Skull Session (Flying Dutchman, 1975)
With Dave Pike

Limbo Carnival (New Jazz, 1962)
Manhattan Latin (Decca, 1964)
With Tito Puente

Cuban Carnival (RCA Victor, 1956)
With Ike Quebec

Soul Samba (Blue Note, 1962)
With Terry Reid

River (Atlantic, 1973)
With Dannie Richmond

"In" Jazz for the Culture Set (Impulse!, 1965)
With Charlie Rouse

Bossa Nova Bacchanal (Blue Note, 1963)
With A. K. Salim

Afro-Soul/Drum Orgy (Prestige, 1965)
With Mongo Santamaria

Mighty Mongo (Fantasy, 1962)
Viva Mongo! (Fantasy, 1962)
With Doc Severinsen

Rhapsody For Now! (RCA, 1973)
With Sonny Stitt

Stitt Goes Latin (Roost, 1963)
With Gábor Szabó

Spellbinder (Impulse!, 1966)
With Clark Terry

Mumbles (Mainstream, 1966)

  • Info
  • 28 February 1934
  • Manhattan, New York, New York, United States Died 15 September 1983 (Aged 49)

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