Latin jazz great Jerry Gonzalez dies in Madrid house fire

Jerry Gonzalez, a US Latin jazz trumpeter and percussionist who played with The Beach Boys and Dizzy Gillespie among others, has died after a reported fire in his Madrid home.

Latin jazz great Jerry Gonzalez dies in Madrid house fire
Photo: AFP

“The Sunnyside family is grieving today as we have lost our beloved friend and inspiration, the great Jerry Gonzalez,” Sunnyside Records tweeted.    

“For over three decades, Jerry has been a constant joy in our lives through his music, his friendship and his undeniable spirit. We will miss him dearly.”   

The jazzman, a renowned “conguero” — a player of the tall, narrow conga drum — passed away aged 69 after suffering a cardiac arrest in a fire in his home in Madrid, Spanish media reports said.

A spokesman at Madrid city hall told AFP a 69-year-old man had been transported to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation, but was unable to confirm his identity. He reportedly died in hospital.

Gonzalez founded the Fort Apache Band and featured prominently in “Calle 54”, Spanish director Fernando Trueba's documentary on Latin jazz, a genre of jazz with Latin American — notably Cuban — rhythms as played by jazz great Gillespie.

He received several Grammy nominations.   

In a tweet, Spain's SGAE society for intellectual property rights said Gonzalez had collaborated with The Beach Boys and also flamenco singers Diego el Cigala and Enrique Morente.

Gonzalez was raised in a musical household in New York's Bronx, with his father singing in various local Latin bands during the 1950s and his uncle playing guitar, according to Sunnyside Records.

He started playing the trumpet aged 12 and later took to the conga in jam sessions on tenement rooftops, in the streets and in parks, particularly Central Park.

He got a scholarship for the New York College of Music and went on to have a prolific career, said his label, which described him as “one of Latin music's most powerful and innovative congueros.”


Ibiza mourns death of DJ Padilla, icon of chillout music

Spanish DJ Jose Padilla, who became famous for pairing relaxed music with sunset views on the holiday island of Ibiza, has died of cancer. He was 64.

Ibiza mourns death of DJ Padilla, icon of chillout music
Jose Padilla pioneer of Ibiza chillout has died aged 64. Photo: Cafe del Mar

“It is with great sadness that we bring you the news that Jose passed away peacefully in his sleep on Sunday night here on his beloved island of Ibiza,” said a message published on his Facebook page late on Monday.

Born in Barcelona in 1955, he moved to Ibiza when he was 20 and began working as a DJ in a years-long career which ultimately saw him nominated for a Latin Grammy.

He shot to fame in the 1990s when he became the resident DJ at the Cafe del Mar bar in San Antoni de Portmany, which is known for its sweeping sunset views of the Mediterranean.

It was there that he made a name for himself with his compilations of “chillout” music, drawing hoards of partygoers to the bar and spawning albums that sold around the world.

“Jose Padilla chilled a generation of clubbers and his art touched the lives of millions. He will always be remembered as the Godfather of Chillout,” the Cafe del Mar tweeted.   

Padilla went public with his colon cancer diagnosis in a tweet in July and underwent surgery the following month.

In his last few messages, he asked fans for help due to the impact of the pandemic, saying he had “no income whatsoever and no way to pay my rent”