Willie Bobo: Who Cooked The Rice?

Catalog # 76131

UPC # 602267613124

Willie Bobo: Percussion
Thurman Green: Trombone, Gary Bias: Saxophone,
David Iwataki: Piano, Michael Sunjka: Guitar,
Jeffrey Littleton: Bass, Victor Pantoja: Congas, Gerald Davis: Drums,


AUDIO (streaming)



…the world’s outstanding percussionist. – Downbeat Magazine

Esteemed Latin percussionist Willie Bobo put together this Latin Jazz Octet of formidable musicians, featuring Thurman Green and Gary Bias for this concert performance, recorded in 1980 for a series of international television concerts that were broadcast throughout the world. Raised in Spanish Harlem neighborhood, William “Bobo” Correa was one of the premiere Jazz and Latin percussionists of the 1960s and ’70s, most recognized for playing Afro-Cuban Jazz.

“William Correa” joined Tito Puente’s band at the age of 19, where he was supposedly given his stage name, Willie Bobo, by piano virtuoso Mary Lou Williams after seeing him perform on timbales and congas. Bobo was given his first mainstream exposure after playing on the George Shearing album The Shearing Spell. Bobo later joined Cal Tjader’s Modern Mambo Quintet during the peak of the 1950s Mambo craze, before finally assembling his own group. After relocated to Los Angeles in the 1970s, Bobo worked with Latin Rock icon Carlos Santana, as well as for Bill Cosby’s on his variety show “Cos”, before his health began to suffer.

Bobo is the original king of the East L.A. Latin jazz scene. Every bit as influential and godlike as Tito Puente… enough groove for a million records… If you’re not a corpse, you’ll get funky…” – Pitchfork Media

…one of Latin music’s all-time great percussionists.” – Latin Beat Magazine

AD LIB 19 Willie Bobo frame at 5m36s

Song Selection:

  1. Westchester Lady
  2. Who Cooked The Rice?
  3. Felicidad
  4. Mister Magic
  5. Soft Lights
  6. Summertime
  7. Instant Relief

Musicians Include:

Willie Bobo: Percussion
Thurman Green: Tenor saxophone, Gary Bias: Saxophone, trumpet, and flute,
David Iwataki: Piano and keyboard, Michael Sunjka: Guitar,
Jeffrey Littleton: Bass, Victor Pantoja: Percussion, Gerald Davis: Drums,


About Willie Bobo

WILLIE BOBO (1934-1983) was an influential percussionist and bandleader whose dynamic playing style left an indelible mark on the world of Latin jazz and beyond. Born in New York City, Bobo drew inspiration from the rhythms of his Puerto Rican heritage, and honed his skills as a conga and timbales player, mastering the art of percussion.AD LIB 29 A 033122 Willie Bobo frame at 6m33s

He gained recognition as a member of Tito Puente’s orchestra and he later joined the popular jazz group, the George Shearing Quintet. Bobo’s distinct style blended elements of jazz, Afro-Cuban and rhythm and blues, creating a unique fusion that captivated audiences and musicians alike.

Bobo received a Grammy Award Nomination for “Spanish Grease” and released a string of successful albums. He was a sought-after collaborator, working with notable artists such as Cal Tjader, Herbie Hancock, and Santana. Bobo was recognized in the DownBeat Magazine Critics Poll multiple times

Willie Bobo’s impact on the world of percussion and Latin jazz endures, being inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame, cementing his status as a true legend in the realm of rhythmic exploration and musical innovation.

About the Songs

Westchester Lady

“Westchester Lady” was written by a legendary musician Bob James. The song brought Bob James’ popularity on pop, R&B, and jazz charts. Sampled a number of times in the years since by rap artists, it’s been described as “a classy Jazz funk/fusion anthem”.

This is how Bob James himself spoke of the song: “The tune, the hook, and main melody of this one was just a jumping point for improvisation. At this point I was really into trying new things and improvising almost wildly at points. I mean, of course improvising has always been an important part of my compositions, but I felt like I now truly had the freedom to do whatever I wanted. I was always looking for schematic material to get a song started, and this song did take a while. But I was real happy with the results when we finished this one because it took longer than some other songs we had done by then. For me, “Westchester Lady” is a real signature piece. I love this song.”

Who Cooked The Rice?

AD LIB 29 A 033122 Willie Bobo frame at 11m29s“Who Cooked the Rice?” was composed by Webster Lewis, a musician, composer and arranger, who worked with some of the top names in jazz. In this live performance Willie Bobo and his Octet give a totally groovy, party version of the song, infused with a Latin flare. The band produces a full, lush sound, with plenty of upbeat energy.


“Felicidad” was written by Clarence “Frogman” Henry, an American R&B composer, singer, and pianist. “Felicidad” means “happiness” in Spanish, and this rendition of the tune by Willie Bobo’s Octet does the title justice. The performance is full of energy, joy, and zest, perfect for a party or just to lift your mood!

Instant Relief

“Instant Relief” is an exuberant, up-tempo song. The rhythm and energy of the tune make it happy and highly danceable. If you’re suffering from a case of blues, this tune is definitely an instant relief!

Musically, this is exuberance defined.

Mister Magic

“Mister Magic” was written by percussionist-producer Ralph MacDonald and became the title track on his first big-selling album, recorded in 1974. The song became a hit when it recorded in 1980 by Grover Washington on an Album by the same title. “Mister Magic” instantly became beloved by fans and critics alike. “We can’t get out the door unless we play it,” Washington said in a 1993 interview with LA Times.

In this beautiful arrangement, Willie Bobo’s Octet performs a smooth and cool version of the famous song. “Mister Magic” transports the listener to a chill, happy place, free of worries and limitations. Magic indeed!


George Gershwin’s “Summertime” is the most covered song in the world. It was originally composed in 1934 as an aria for the opera “Porgy and Bess” and has since been performed by artists from Billy Holiday to Janis Joplin, and Al Green. The song’s theme is absolutely striking in the way it conveys a lazy, blues-imbued serenity. Summertime has a catchy, slow lilt and atmospheric harmonies. Gershwin’s highly evocative writing brilliantly mixes elements of jazz and the song styles of African Americans in the southeast United States from the early twentieth century. Gershwin, of course, adds his own unique voice to the music and the results are utterly charming.

Soft LightsAD LIB 19 Willie Bobo frame at 23m58s

“Soft Lights” is composed by the trombonist Thurman Green, who also performs on the recording. The tune has a beautiful, soulful melody, and atmospheric harmonies. The combination of Latin rhythms, dancing beats and swinging performance result in a smooth, warm sound. “Soft Lights” is a romantic and danceable tune at once.

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