Willie Bobo

Willie Bobo

Willie Bobo
Birth name William Correa
Born (1934-02-28)February 28, 1934
Died September 15, 1983(1983-09-15) (aged 49)
Genres Afro-Cuban Jazz, Boogaloo
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Timbales, 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.


  • Biography 1
  • Discography 2
    • As leader 2.1
    • As sideman 2.2
  • Filmography 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


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 '70s, 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 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 '50s. 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, of which the title track is probably his most well known tune. Highly successful at this attempt, Bobo released a further seven albums with Verve.[1]

In the early 1970s, he moved out to Los Angeles. He again met up with his long-time 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. In the late '70s, 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

  • Trombone Jazz Samba (Verve, 1962)

With Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

With Miles Davis

With Victor Feldman

  • Latinsville! (Contemporary, 1959)

With José Feliciano

  • Angela (Private Stock, 1976)

With Grant Green

With Chico Hamilton

With Slide Hampton

With Herbie Hancock

With Eddie Harris

With Bobby Hutcherson

With Herbie Mann

With Les McCann

  • Much Les (Atlantic, 1967)

With Gary McFarland

With Buddy Miles

  • Chapter VII (Columbia, 1973)

With Wes Montgomery

With Dave Pike

With Tito Puente

  • Cuban Carnival (RCA Victor, 1956)

With Ike Quebec

With Terry Reid

  • River (Atlantic, 1973)

With Dannie Richmond

With Charlie Rouse

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

With Gábor Szabó

With Clark Terry

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)

With Don Wilkerson


  • 2008 Willie Bobo: King Conga


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

External links