Willie Bobo

Willie Bobo
Birth nameWilliam Correa
Born(1934-02-28)February 28, 1934
DiedSeptember 15, 1983(1983-09-15) (aged 49)
GenresAfro-Cuban Jazz, Boogaloo
InstrumentsTimbales, conga, various percussion instruments

Willie Bobo was the stage name of William Correa (February 28, 1934 – September 15, 1983),[1] a Latin and jazz percussionist of Puerto Rican ancestry.


William Correa grew up in Spanish Harlem, New York City. He made his name in Latin Jazz, specifically Afro-Cuban jazz, in the 1960s and 1970s, with the timbales becoming his favoured instrument. He met Mongo Santamaría shortly after his arrival in New York and studied with him while acting as his translator, and later at the age of 19 joined Tito Puente for four years.

The nickname Bobo is said to have been bestowed by the jazz pianist Mary Lou Williams in the early 1950s.[1]

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 Santamaría to become part of the Cal Tjader Modern Mambo Quintet, who released several albums as the mambo craze reached fever pitch in the late 1950s. Reuniting with his mentor Santamaría in 1960, the pair released the album Sabroso! for the Fantasy label. Bobo 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.[1]

After the runaway success of Tjader's Soul Sauce, in which he was heavily involved, Bobo formed a new band with the backing of Verve Records, releasing Spanish Grease, the title track being perhaps his most well known tune. Highly successful at this attempt, Bobo released a further six albums with Verve.[1]

In the early 1970s, he moved out to Los Angeles. He again met up with his longtime friend Richard Sanchez Sr. and his son Richard Jr. and began recording in the studio. Bobo then worked as a session musician for Carlos Santana among others, as well as being a regular in the band for Bill Cosby's variety show Cos. Santana covered Willie Bobo's Latin song "Evil Ways" in 1969 on their debut album. In the late 1970s, Bobo recorded albums for Blue Note and Columbia Records.[1]

After a period of ill health, he died at the age of 49, succumbing to cancer.[2]

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.[1]

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.


As leader[]

As sideman[]

With Nat Adderley

With Dorothy Ashby

With Bob Brookmeyer

With Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

With Miles Davis

With Victor Feldman

With José Feliciano

With Benny Golson

With Dexter Gordon

With Grant Green

With Chico Hamilton

With Slide Hampton

With Herbie Hancock

With Eddie Harris

With Bobby Hutcherson

With Herbie Mann

With Les McCann

With Gary McFarland

With Buddy Miles

With Wes Montgomery

With Oliver Nelson

With Dave Pike

With Tito Puente

With Ike Quebec

With Terry Reid

With Dannie Richmond

With Charlie Rouse

With A. K. Salim

With Mongo Santamaria

With Doc Severinsen

With Sonny Stitt

With Gábor Szabó

With Clark Terry

With Cal Tjader

With Don Wilkerson



  1. ^ a b c d e f Biography, AllMusic
  2. ^ "Willie Bobo, Drummer Who Led Latin Bands". The New York Times. 1983-09-16. Retrieved 2007-01-23.

External links[]