Joe Collado - "Ritmo Joe"

Joe Collado

This is an interview with Joe Collado: percussionist, composer and producer. Interview took place on July 31, 2014.


Click the play button to hear the interview in its entirety and/or read the transcript, which follows.

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Ritmo Joe by Joe ColladoThe Latino Groove Project by Joe ColladoSolo Joe by Joe Collado

Hugh: Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the Funkatologist. I'm your host, the Funkatologist, and with me today, I have none other than the one and only Joe Collado: renowned percussionist, producer, composer, vocalist, school teacher, and lots of other stuff too! How are you today, Joe?

Joe: Good, Good -- thank you Hugh for inviting me to this interview!

Hugh: Well I'm really super happy to have you here, Joe. I've known you for a long time -- I've known you for 25 years or more.

Joe: Might be, might be, might be!

Hugh: I've really been happy to see you just sort of really blooming with your music. You've been a great musician all these years -- we used to play together. We did all kinds of Latin, Jazz, Funk, Rock and all kinds of stuff. You've always been a wonderful addition to any group I've been in. As we've gone forward, I've seen you, you've come out with your first album, you kind of said it was just something you wanted to do for yourself. The really interesting thing was to see that album actually take off, and people take notice of it, and it got played internationally -- it got a lot of recognition from that. What was the name of that first album?

Joe: It was “Solo Joe”.

Hugh: Solo Joe, right.

Joe: Yep -- me, myself, and I.

Hugh: Fantastic -- and then you went on to do a second album as well, which also got international acclaim, too. What was the name of the second album?

Joe: “The Latin Groove Project”.

Hugh: The Latin Groove Project, and these albums are awesome. What I know about Joe is that he classically understands the theory behind Latin music and Latin rhythms -- hes not just some guy who takes a drum and plays it. He knows inside and out what the music is about. So Joe, if you could, tell our listeners about where you came from, your roots, how you got into music and all that, if you would.

Joe: Four Score, and Seven Years ago,

Hugh: That long huh?


Joe: I was born and raised in Brooklyn New York in the projects - Farragut Projects in Brooklyn. Then I moved to Redhook, and during those times I was a street kid. We used to always hang in the park, used to play a lot of basketball and play conga drums. It was the 70's -- a lot of jamming, and lot of hippies. You could just walk into any park in New York City where you could hear the sound of the conga drums... people just beating away. I was part of that, and I enjoyed it.

Hugh: What was your favorite park to hang out in New York?

Joe: It was probably in Redhook, next to the pool

Hugh: Redhook next to the pool, ok.

Joe: I visited this past summer -- we had an old timers get together!

Hugh: Alzheimers get together?

Joe: Oh no, old timers! Some of my friends I used to play with showed up, and we got together like we used to do. They drank as I played!

Hugh: Cool, I'm sure they enjoyed it even more!

Joe: That started when I was a kid. My first instrument was the recorder in Elementary school.

Hugh: Recorder -- the flute type instrument?

Joe: Yeah, and then, when I got to middle school, they drafted me into the band -- I played alto sax.

Hugh: Wow, I had no idea that you did that.

Joe: Yeah, I played that for three years through middle school and then till my senior year in high school, then I quit. I wasn't enjoying it. It wasn't an instrument where I could practice with other people -- it was mostly a soloing thing. During that time, I was playing drums, and falling in love with the Latin drum. Why? I grew up, like I said, in the Projects of New York City, with mostly blacks and hispanics. So my ear was always to Soul music. I didn't really like the Hispanic music and Latin music at the time... it wasn't my thing, it didn't hit me. I don't know why, but I just enjoyed Soul music because it was available all the time in the projects. They played it everywhere!

Latin music, they played it once in a while, like Tito Puente. It was nice to dance to, but I wasn't a danceable guy. My first love was Soul music and by the time I got to high school, there was this type of music that came out called Boogaloo with Soul and Latin mixed together -- it really caught my eye. Guys like Johnny Colon, Pete Rodriguez “I Like it Like That“, Joe Cuba “Bang Bang, Push Push”.

Hugh: Right!

Joe: Man, they are singing Soul or doowop with a Latin feel. Caught my eye, and caught my soul too, because I was of Latin descent. I used to listen on the congas -- I said I can play to this. I started playing it and being more involved with the Boogaloo and as the Boogaloo evolved it turned into more of a Salsa thing that's when people like Eddie Palmieri and Willie Colon started coming out the woodworks. Playing Boogaloo too, they started off playing Boogaloo -- Lebron Brothers, they all started playing Boogaloo and evolved to Salsa where they added more Jazz, more complex rhythms, more Cuban rhythms, more African rhythms. It was like -- Salsa was a mixture, and when people say what Salsa is, it's from New York. I have no doubt about it, because I lived it. It was just a cultural mixture of blacks, Jazz music, white music, any type of music. It was a New York City project – that's what Salsa was. All the influence was from people in New York City. It got big, and it got bigger and bigger. It got so big that it was hard to get into bands! I started playing congas at 18 or 19, and I was trying to get into bands. But I wasn't a responsible guy at that time. I was more into what the other stuff that the hippies do!

Hugh: Oh Really?

Joe: Yeah, like smoke and hangout, and stuff. I really wasn't going anywhere I graduated college. I was a good athlete playing basket ball all the time, and even baseball, I was on a baseball team. Not really involved in that either. It wasn't till I was about 20 years old hanging out in New York -- I was a little gang banger -- I had my gangbanger days, too. My parents noticed that I wasn't going anywhere. They decided to move to Miami, and they said Joe, either you stay here by yourself, or you go with us. I couldn't afford to stay in New York by myself, so I came down here to Miami. Remember -- I was a street kid, my rhythms were street, everything I learned was just street, even my basketball playing days I was just a street basketball player. Came down here, I was bored as hell. I missed the inner city -- there was a big difference between the inner city and Miami at that time. Talking about middle 70's.

Hugh: Probably a bit more boring down here I would guess.

Joe: Oh yeah -- it was like night and day. From a street kid in Brooklyn to coming out here. Now my needs have changed, it's evolved. At that time, it was different.

Hugh: Like, lots of flat land stretching out so far and wide.

Joe: I decided to go to college. My mother said, why don't you go to college. I had my degree in high school -- I just finished high school, I only missed it by one year. I'll try college... I used to play basketball, but the only place to play was Miami Dade College Gymnasium. Remember, I was a New York City street basketball player so I was pretty good. I was dogging everybody on there! This guy came up to me and said hey, would like to try out for the team? I didn't know he was the coach for Miami Dade. Who'd you play for? I said I never played high school, just the street. I played in tournaments in New York. He said why don't you come out for the team? Fall came, and I made the team -- he liked my skills, and gave me a full ride scholarship to Miami Dade College!

Hugh: Wow, fantasitic!

Joe: Well, what do I want to major in? I love music, I love the congas, let me try music. Little did I know, there were no congueross down here at the time who were very accomplished. I didn't know how to read music, except for the sax. What do I love? The piano! So I tried it on the piano. I took classical piano for two years -- all the rudiments. I remember the lady named Ms. Burr... I got my fingers so phew they were flying on the piano at the time. I got pretty good at piano! I took up theory, and my horizons in music got broader.

Hugh: So you were a music major with your scholarship?

Joe: I started as a music major -- I didn't end as a music major. To me, it was tough being a music major... and being on a basketball team was tough. I decided to do what every other guy on the basketball team was doing after 2 years – get a P.E. (physical education) major, where I let someone else do the work for me. We had female aids, a student that helps you with your work. Pay them a little extra and they will do the entire work. They were doing papers for everyone on the team, so I changed my major. I was an athlete anyway and changed it to P.E.

To this day, I know I have enough credits to be a minor in music. I learned about music and broadened my horizons. I always played congas. I started playing at church but I didn't see very many good rumberos or people playing congas here. Until about the time the barrier boat lifted in the 1980s.

Hugh: right, 1981, 1982.

Joe I remember a couple of teachers who...

Hugh: For those listeners who don't understand it or don't recognize that reference. In the early 80s Castro sent a lot of people from Cuba here in boats. A lot of them came out of prisons, they were political prisioners or just criminals or someone that just got sent here to Miami and dumped off, so we got a huge infusion of Cuban culture in the early 80s.

Joe: A lot of them were street, so a lot of them were just like me. The difference was that like in Brooklyn, that was Cuban. They were street people -- they knew the rhythms, and were limited in what they could do, so they would play congas and have parties and stuff like that. There were two particular teachers that I learned my rhythms from... remember, I was a very talented street ball player, and very talented, according to other people, as a conguero. I was just wild, I didn't know music, I didn't know rhythms. I remember Hector Neciosup, Alex Acuna's nephew, was running Resurrection Drums on Bird Road. I went up to him and

Hugh: That's a music store that sells drums and this guy owned it?

Joe: No, he worked as a manager -- Hector Neciosup, that's the nephew of Alex Acuna.

Hugh: [Alex Acuna] who played with Weather Report and some other people.

Joe: Yeah, and he was voted Percussionist Of The Year many times. I think they both signed with some label -- I'm not sure which label, out in California.

Hugh: Sony?

Joe: No, no the percussion label -- it doesn't come to my mind. Zildjian, maybe Zildjian, or both of them assigned to different other ones. He would pull me aside every week and teach me the rhythms of Peru, Columbia, Brazil.

Hugh: Alex Acunas nephew?

Joe: His name is Hector, he teaches at FIU [Florida International University in Miami]. Music teacher at FIU -- they nicknamed him Ocho.

Hugh: Ocho!

Joe: He taught me just about everything he knew, but I'm still craving some more! He turned me onto this guy JC -- Johnny Conga, who also knew the rhythm. He was at the time, the best conguero in Florida. Johnny Conga took me under his wings -- we had a little group that he used to travel with, little percussion groups. We would put show together for everybody... we played the different rhythms from different countries.

Hugh: Here in Miami?

Joe: Yes, JC did a great thing. Maybe six of us, we played different drums and everything, and during rehearsals, he would switch us to different drums. So not only did I learn the rhythms -- I learned the rhythms from every other instrument. JC was in Seattle for a while, he came back to live here in Miami last year.

Hugh: That's one of the reasons why youre able to do what I've seen you do before-- basically arrange the section just from fundamentals, like this has to go here, then you do this on top of that, and then this fits in there like that.

Joe: That's all from what I learned. You'll notice on my CD Solo Joe and Latin Group Project and the new one which is gonna be a great one, Ritmo Joe, I play every percussion instrument there is. Because I know what I want, and sometimes, you know what you want and if you can play it, it saves you money! Why do I have to invite somebody if I can do it, why do I have to pay somebody else if I can do it myself? I take pride in that.

Hugh: Absolutely! Did you do that for all your CDs?

Joe: Just about every one, yes. I do have guests... by the way, I also play piano on my CD, and keyboard. Mind you, I'm not as good as I used to be at piano -- I don't practice as much.

Hugh: Well, you're a natural, and that comes across in the CDs. You're so relaxed with your rhythms on every instrument, that it just gels -- it flows.

Joe: That's what you might call mastering the instrument. Like, if you master the piano, what's in you can come out much easier.

Hugh: Second nature -- you don't have to think about it, it's just a natural flow.

Joe: That takes time and practice.

Hugh: It does, and experience and hard knocks and everything.

Joe: When I was with JC, I could improvise. I had what was in my mind what to do, but it just couldn't come out of my hands. As the years went by I got practice... I played more and more with the flow -- its better than getting high. It's the greatest feeling in the world when everything is just flowing. Because when I did that I became a pretty good percussionist.

I don't care what people say – oh, you copied this guy's style. We all copy each other, we make our own style. I take a little bit of Giovanni, I take a little of this, I take a little of the old school, I take a little of the new school and I take it. I make my own style. When a certain conguero's playing, I know who that is. You don't have to name them for me, I could tell. So, people actually know me when I'm playing my style. Oh that's Joe Collado! That guy plays like Joe Collado. I now have a style that I play, but it was derivative of every other style.

Hugh: You've really arrived, if that's the case.

Joe: Thank you, thank you, and I'm proud of that, because I've been playing so many years in Miami -- even internationally. What happened was this -- I was voted Percussionist of the Year in Miami by New Times Magazine, and I didn't even know it.

Hugh: Yeah, I think I may have been the one to tell you that!

Joe: So I get this certificate in the mail, and it says “Percussionist of The Year”... I say what the hell? I call them up, oh we couldn't get in contact with you! (I think I changed my phone number,) so we just mailed you the certificate. Oh my God... these people really recognize my skills. Because you remember, I played internationally with Khadir?

Hugh: Well we haven't talked about that yet, maybe we should rewind just a bit. We rolled up to the late 2000s now and we were just in the early 80s. What we havent talked about for the audience yet, is how you were on tour with some very large Latin Salsa acts that travel internationally -- including your cousin, Angel Canales. I met him and I had the pleasure of playing with you guys. It was such a great thing, I wish I could have it done more, I played with you guys both on piano and on bass.

Joe: The time you played with us, I pushed to get you on that gig.

Hugh: Well I'm a honky white dude.

Joe: Well you remember Victor, he said you can't have a white guy. Angel said what? Look at my previous albums -- it was a bunch of white guys playing piano. Angel goes, if that guy's got swing, hes playing -- and he loved the way you play.

Hugh: I loved playing with that group, and I wish I could've done it more, but I did sense a little bit of clique. I am a white guy, American Gringo, you can tell by my accent -- my wife calls me Gringo all the time!

Joe: I bet they didn't think about that after you played, because you did a great job.

Hugh: Thank you!

Joe: Oh yeah, those international groups like Khadir, funk groups -- you love funk, and you talk about that. I played with Khadir.

Hugh: Oh, Khadir, I practiced with them a few times too. I know they were great, they were almost like that Joe Cuba style mixed up with American Rock soul, that kind of thing. It was great.

Joe: Well, Khadir was a new sound, and the problem with this was when the music was changing in middle 90s. I remember when we were playing SOB's in New York in the Village, we were invited afterwards by our manager to have a meeting with Mottola.

Hugh: Tommy Mottola, right that's Mariah Carey's husband right, the big record producer?

Joe: What happened with Mottola is he knew things were changing, and he liked our sound, and knew it was new. You know he told our manager?

Hugh: What?

Joe: How could I sell it, I can't make the money. I can't take chances on a new sound -- this is not the 70s. If I take chances on a new sound and I can't sell it because your music is different, I'll lose money. They're all business men today. He told us that if we don't sound like anybody else, we will never make it. Our manager said no -- that's got to be wrong. You remember in the 70s, everybody was looking for new sounds, 60s -- new sounds.

Hugh: Well that was the 90s, though.

Joe: Yes, but it was evolving into what it is today. He probably knew down the line what was coming, too. So we were kinda shocked.

Hugh: You got that far up the ladder and talked to Tommy Mottola, and he's like, I ain't gonna make no f-ing money.

Joe: He was talking as a business man, straight business man -- because he didn't want to take a chance. Even when we approached Emilo Estefan, he was in charge of Sony records.

Hugh: That's the guy behind the Miami Sound Machine. For those listening of you who don't know Emilo Estefan, he and Gloria Estefan are kind of in our circle of friends down here believe it or not.

Joe: I never met him but, Lino from Khadir and his brother Oscar who was our manager at the time, told me that Emilio was that kind of guy. I don't know if he is, I never met him... got the impression that he was a very prideful guy.

Hugh: Proud?

Joe: Yes he loved our band, but he just wanted to buy the music.

Hugh: He wanted to buy the music, you mean the songs for his group? Because he produced the Miami Sound Machine, Jon Secada, and a bunch of other people.

Joe: So he wanted to take our songs and give them to somebody else.

Hugh: Yeah, makes sense.

Joe: We rejected that too. With all these things happening, Khadir fell apart... which was a shame.

Hugh: It was a good band.

Joe: I really enjoyed that band. I remember on tour in New Orleans we opened up for Jose Feliciano. After the gig, Jose Feliciano offered me full time to go with him. He offered me to go out to California and pay me such and such per week on salary. I remember my wife Jackie was pregnant at the time.

Hugh: With your first?

Joe: Yeah, with Jasmine. We talked about it and I forgot his manager's name. I denied it, because I asked the manager a few questions, like what if I get fired? He goes well, if you get fired, you get fired. There was no security... I was working for the school system at the time. I was getting very secure money in my pocket anually. With Jose Feliciano, he did not guarantee me anything but a straight salary and studio work, by the way.

Hugh: Typical music scenario.

Joe: I asked straight out the manager what happens if I get fired. He said just like any other musician, you live for the work.

Hugh: What?

Joe: Live for the work. Here I am gonna be stuck in California with a pregnant wife and no insurance. They won't give me insurance. I already had insurance and I could be fired anytime by the school system I was already secured about 10 years in the school system. I could already apply for pension at the time. I had to go against my hearts desire and tell them no. Pobably the toughest decision I ever made. From there, I know I could've gotten other work, because out in California there are lot of Latin Jazz guys. I would have met other musicians and been in music fulltime, which was always my dream.

Hugh: You were just up against that decision that so many artists and musicians are faced with, and you're luckier than that other 90% who have no other marketable skill other than hitting that conga drum, or whatever they do.

Joe: I see the way things are now, and the decisions I made were the best for me.

Hugh: Oh yeah.

Joe: I didn't like the fact I couldn't tour with bands because of my job working for Miami Dade public schools. Many bands asked me to tour with. I would've loved to, but the only time I could tour was in the summer. I used to tour with Canales [the Angel Canales Sales Orquestra] -- we used to go all over the place. He liked me so much that he put the tours around when I was open.

Hugh: That's fantastic.

Joe: He was married to my cousin, but he made the tours around me. I would tour in the summer, and other groups asked hey -- can you do this? I had to turn them all down. Many gigs I turned down. I wouldv'e probably been more greater, people would know me more.

Hugh: Had you been willing to suffer more for your art.

Joe: You know about that. I'm happy I made the right decision -- I think everything is going good in my life right now. This third album I think is my best piece of work. I can see myself evolving as a musician doing this.

Hugh: Let's talk a little bit more about that album.

Joe: Ok!

Hugh: This is your third album, it's called Ritmo Joe. For those of you who are gringos out there, it means Rhythm Joe. Now of course, it's all your own original music.

Joe: Yes well theres one -- this is the first time in all three albums that I put a cover piece on it. I did a rhumba in New York and in my home one day when my son was playing flute and he was playing 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'.

Hugh: Oh yeah, yeah, right.

Joe: I said you know what I like, rhythms -- so I'm going to put a straight rhumba rhythm in there, and hes going to play on top of that. So that's the only time that I didn't [write the actual song]. I arranged it.

Hugh: Right, the first time that you had done a cover tune on one your albums. It is great -- I heard some of that on Facebook.

Joe: It's different... you're gonna see that all my music is different. That's why I call it Latin Groove music, because it's anything with a Latin groove.

Hugh: It's because you know all the different moods, where it's like in classical music, it would be allegro and sostenuto. You know the Latin versions.

Joe: You know playing with guys like you, Galo [Galo Rivera], Harry [Captain Harry Henry Hann], and you know all the guys at kidd theater gave me these influence. These melodies that I have in my head just putting a Latin beat behind it. That's why I call it Latin Groove Music -- it can be anything. I even have a song in there that has a hip hop artist in there, and put a Latin beat behind it. Somewhere Over the Rainbow with a Latin beat behind it. I even have a song called '718 to 305' which means [area code] 718 – Brooklyn!

Hugh: Past Brooklyn area code

Joe: to 305 which would probably be

Hugh: Miami area code.

Joe: That song has a little Tumbao from Cuba in it. It has all these influences -- just put a Latin Rhythm behind it. I always tell people that those songs, the three albums I've done, are just the influence of my life, just coming together. That's why I enjoy playing most of the parts of percussion. I know exactly the way I want it, and exactly the way it sounds. I don't want to pay anybody to make it sound different. Well, if [there were] some people who I like, and I think could do his job like an invited guest, actually make some of the sounds that brought it to life, I'm gonna use this guy more and more and more -- and they bring a different thing into it, which is great too. By the way, I invited Hugh to my next album too!

Hugh: Yeah, you might see me popping up on number 4 cd coming up! Looking forward to that.

Joe: That was it, just giving an example of Latin Groove music.

Hugh: So what other musicians do you have on this album?

Joe: I have Jose Morales, he is my trumpeter, he plays all the horns. From Solo Joe all the way to Ritmo, he does a great job. Love his style, sort of like a Cubanish Puerto Rican Jazz style that I love. His horn playing is so smooth it hits me all the time. He has great ideas and also helps me in the vocals, I'm not a very good vocalist. The tunes you hear with the vocals that arent that good, it's probably me!

Hugh: Actually I listened to the album and I really like the ones with the vocals. Especially the tune kind of reminded me of Eddie Palmieri thing. I don't remember the name of it, maybe it's Nuyorican. It's a very cool offset Latin rhythm.

Joe: Nuyorican, that's a cool tune it's really percussive and very powerful. Speaking of Eddie Palmieri probably one of my favorite artists I remembering seeing him many times his band was so powerful.

Hugh: Really, you saw him a number of times in New York?

Joe: Yes. Remember, I grew up in the Salsa era. I remember I used to see Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, Larry Harlow, Willie Colon, Lebron Brothers, and all those guys for $5!

Hugh: Fania -- Fania All Stars?

Joe: Yeah, but this is their own band, for $5 for one week. We saw Joe Cuba also for $5 for one night. So listening to all these bands, you get ideas right away, and I fell in love. People used to dance, and I never did -- I just looked at the bands and what they were doing. That helped me, are you seeing this guy's style? This guy Ray Barretto's style, vs Eddie Palmieri's style. Look at Flamboyan with the electric guitar. I remember the first time I heard an electric guitar play, it was for the orchestra of Flamboyan, Frankie Dante came up with a tune and put an electric guitar on a Latin rhythm that blew me away that I had never heard before. Then came Santana!

Hugh: Right, I was going to bring that up.

Joe: Santana was more rockfish, this guy [Flamboyan's guitarist] was just straight Latin with an electric guitar.He fitted it nice sometimes -- you try to force it, and it doesn't sound right. With this group, they were like a bunch of Latin hippies. They would go on stage with their bare feet and everybody else would come in a shirt and tie, you know the old 50s way. It was changing... my cousin Angel Canales came out the same way. He started wearing the Michael Jackson outfits, all gold, everything gold chain, and he was doing that before Michael Jackson was doing that! You could see Latin evolving to a new sound at that time. I was part of that new sound.

Hugh: That's inspiring. Ok great, I'm really looking forward to seeing the release of this new album.

Joe: There's already a tune out, I already released 'JazzC', Which was named after my daughter Jasmine Collado -- Jazz C. I was just playing on the piano one day, and I started playing a melody. I said hey, this melody sounds good!. Now I remember when I was a kid, I used to remember a good melody. I always had inspirations to write, and used to wake up with tunes in my head, but I never used to rememeber. And at the time, I didn't know music and I couldn't write it down. Now, with new age technology, I would just play music and record it on my iPhone, and say what did I do yesterday?

Hugh: Technology has helped us muscicans so much, and in so many ways.

Joe: Oh yes, yes! It hurt of a lot of muscians as far as making a living, but it helped me personally, because before, I couldn't remember or record what I've done.

So with JazzC, I started doing a melody and I just played the whole thing on piano, .and I put a Latin back beat on it --you know, just press a button! My son was evolving as a flute player. I said Jojo, can you do this? And my son, he's a gifted guy.

Hugh: Before we go on I would let my listeners know that on this new album Joe is featuring his son, Joe Jr.

Joe: Hes not Jr, his name is Joesph Amanda Collado. My real name is Jose Luis Collado.

Hugh You call him JJ or Jojo?

Joe: I call him Pop.

Hugh: Oh you call him Pop?

Joe: I have a tune called 'Father and Son', which is probably going to wind up being called 'Me and Pop'. Because it's just me and him, together. I play on the piano, and he answers. I don't know if you heard that one?

Hugh: I've heard them all.

Joe: Father and Son, it's just me and Pop. Nothing else -- we do everything on there. He just plays piano, and he improvises pretty good. So I was saying Jojo, play it, and he played it, picked it up like that without even writing it down.

Hugh: Hes a natural musician too, and hopefully just follows along the lines of Dad. How about your daughter Jasmine, is she on the album too?

Joe: No. She's a good pianist – she's more of an athlete. She plays basketball for [?]. I would always love to have had her stick to the piano -- she could have been a great pianist.

Hugh: So your wife Jackie was on your previous album. Is she rapping on this one?

Joe: I have a real rapper. She did a great job and I like rhumbas, and I started doing a rhumba, and I needed a melody. I said Jackie, why don't you write a poem? Do something poetic.

Hugh: It was good, it was about the Puerto Rican experience in America... it was amazing!

Joe: I never thought it was going to come out that way. Then, when I started playing the rhumba, she had problems with the tempo at first... but we rehearsed and rehearsed until she had it down packed!

Hugh: Sounds great on that album. It's on the first Album. Solo Joe. if you guys want to check it out. It's the bomb.

Joe: Yes! Yes, that one's called 'Rhumba TNT'. TNT, because Jose plays on it, and its nothing but percussion. Jackie sang it, and Jose on the trumpet. TNT means Tumbaos, congas and trumpets. Jackie talks about heritage we have [by virtue of our] Puerto Rican descent, and New York. She did a great job. People like that better than...

Hugh: Better than the grooves! People always like a voice, they like to be talked to.

Joe: That was put together in a matter of days. I just waited for her to write the words -- I already had the rhumba sitting on top of this. We rehearsed it, and she did it when she had a cold, too!. I don't know if it made her sound better or worse.

Hugh: I don't know, it sounds pretty good!

Joe: My next album, that Father and Son I was talking about, Jojo and I have some other ones that are nice and cool, darkish, called Kool Dark.Where Jose does a muted trumpet -- very Jazz, like deep rhythm: that's Kool Dark. Ritmo Joe is basically me and my typical stuff. JazzC, I have a guest pianist, Noel Torres.

Hugh: Yeah, Noel is very well known here in Miami, great keyboardist.

Joe: Shoebop Blues has Galo Rivera on electric guitar, he does a great job.

Hugh: I hope we can get Galo on a Funkatologist interview one of these days. Gallo is an amazing musician that plays guitar. He and Joe do some touring with a Santana tribute band.

Joe: We are going to Cleveland next month -- gonna say hi to Lebron James!

Hugh: Say whyd you leave?

Joe: Haha right! And Galo does produce.

Hugh: Right, Galo is the producer of this album and all these CDs that Joe did.

Joe: Well he calls me producer, but he actually does the mastering. I was looking for him to help with my first CD but then after a while, he was listening to me. It comes down to what you want.

Hugh: Yea,h absolutely.

Joe: When I became Miami's “best percussionist”, I wanted to do something so all these people would recognize me, let me make an album.

Hugh: Let me tell you, it was the best thing you could have ever done.

Joe: I didn't care if the people liked it or not -- it was for my own benefit, and the second album was the same way. So I don't care if people like it or not, just BUY IT! Just kidding!

Hugh: We're gonna make the album available on this website.

Joe: Thank you, it should be out mid-August

Hugh: 2014?

Joe: Yes and it's a matter of time before it goes to every place you can go on CD Baby.

Hugh: I'm sure you're gonna get some props from the Latin Jazz websites and bloggers, just like you have with the other CDs you released. We are gonna see a lot from the new album Ritmo Joe, coming up here.

Joe: My last album was picked up by a bunch of distributors in California who distribute to Kmart, and once they hear this one, they are gonna do the same thing.

Hugh: And this being your third, its going to hopefully rocket you to stardom!

Joe: They always say people don't know somebody till the third album.I really don't want stardom, I just want to play music. I just want to enjoy life, and play music, whether it becomes stardom or not!

Hugh: Well, you're already a star Joe!

Joe: Well, you know what I mean. [whatever,] I would like to be the same person.

Hugh: This is Joe in his natural habitat, doing what comes naturally and putting out that Ritmo groove that just doesn't stop!

Joe: I wouldn't be surprised this is my best work so far. I'm really getting to be a little prideful on this one! I really enjoyed it, and I can see my self evolving as a writer, especially with the Latin Rhythms. I already have a bunch of songs ready for my next CD, believe it or not!

Hugh: Well, I'm looking forward to number four too, and I'm sure that the world will be as well.

Well, we have been doing this for a while it might be time to wrap things up here... I really, really apreciate you taking the time to come and sit with me today, and talk about your illustrious life and career and your new album Ritmo Joe, which will be released this August 2014. So look for that, and if you're hearing this or seeing this on the website, look on the sidebar you'll see the ads for the album and whatnot. So anyway Joe thanks so much for being here again!

Joe: No problem, no problem!

Hugh: Its great, hope to see you again soon, and we will do this again on your next album.

Joe: Sure, and I hope to get together with you playing with my band soon!

Hugh: Well I agree. I would love to do that. Let's make that happen.

Joe: People don't know that Hugh Hitchcock is one of the best pianists that I have ever seen in my life. The man can play just about anything, from Latin, to Funk, to Classical. Not many pianists can do that with feeling... people don't realize that it takes something special. You get salseros that can just play Salsa and nothing else, you get funk guys... this guy does it all... not only piano, but bass too.

Hugh: WOW! Well, just hoping not to let those secrets get out. I guess I'm glad I didn't end this interview before now.

Joe: Don't cut this part now!

Hugh: No I wont I'll leave it in for sure! Thank you so much bro -- Solid man and we'll see you next time on the Funkatologist!

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