June 17, 2024

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Herbie Hancock explains how he composed Watermelon Man … Video

Herbie Hancock explains how he composed Watermelon Man and how Mongo Santamaria influenced it. He then performs both the original 1962 and the 1973 Headhunters versions.

“Mongo” Santamaría (April 7, 1917 – February 1, 2003) was a rumba quinto master and an Afro-Cuban Latin jazz percussionist. He was an integral figure in the fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with R&B and soul, paving the way for the boogaloo era of the late 1960s. His 1963 hit rendition of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” (recorded on December 17, 1962) was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

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