Mike Collazo

I know of no other timbale player that has worked with as many significant bands as Mike Collazo has.   At the age of 14, Mike began studying with Ubaldo Nieto, the timbale player with the Machito Orchestra. Mike attended New York City High School, School of Industrial Design along with musicians, Orlando Marin and Joe Quijano. He used to give Orlando pointers on playing percussion back then. Probably the most famous alumnus of this high school is the singer Tony Bennett.

Upon graduating high school Mike attended Manhattan School of Music, long enough to learn how to read music. This skill gave him the opportunity to record many albums and jingles.

Mike’s first big break came when he joint the band of Cuban singer Marcelino Guerra. At the age of 18 he joined the band of another great Cuban singer, Vicentico Valdez Band. He stayed with this band until he was drafted into the army at the age of 23.

Upon returning from the army, Mike performed with Eddie Palmieri’s La Perfecta, one of my all-time favorite bands. One of the places they played was a downstairs club on 77th Street in New York by the name of Che José. I used to carry my newly developed cowbells in brown paper bags to this club for the musicians to evaluate. Mike remembers me from this era.

Early on in Mike’s career he was told the timbale job for Tito Rodriguez would be coming to him, but he felt he had to decline it because he was too inexperienced. In those days it was a very special event when a job opened up in one of these great bands since sidemen were accustomed to being in these bands for 10-15 years. Usually someone would have to die before any musical chair would open up. In the case of Tito Rodriguez, it was Papi Paganni, a great musician in Collaso’s words, who had to leave due to personal problems and Mike took the job. He stayed with Tito Rodriguez for 5 years.

After the Tito Rodriguez band, Mike joined up with the RIcardo Rey band that was very popular in the 1970s. A solo of Mike’s on the Agúsate album got him recognition as a soloist. His prior career called for his work to be that of a time keeper and not a soloist. Even until this day, he is known as far away as in the country of Colombia for his solo on this album. When I asked Eddie Montalvo to speak about Mike, his first thought was of this very album which he felt was one that defined an era in Latin music.

For the last 15 years, Mike has been a member of the New York charanga band, Orchestra Broadway. Another of my favorite bands.

On the personal side, Mike is a great father and grandfather and a gentleman at all times. He is always courteous and sensitive to others. My dear friend, bass player Eddie ‘Gua Gua’ Rivera, said that his sister, who dated Mike confirmed his gentlemanly ways.

Videos:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hNTZzbxtkA

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydYAuABBus8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33DH_wwug0Y

Credit:

2013 Late Night Guitar/Two of a Kind/Nightsongs Earl Klugh Latin Percussion
2008 Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival 1977 Tito Puente Drums, Group Member, Member of Attributed Artist, Trap Kit
2004 Auténtico Gilberto Santa Rosa Timbales
2004 Clásicas De Clásico Conjunto Clasico Timbales
2003 40th Anniversary Orquesta Broadway Group Member, Timbales
2001 Tu Bien Lo Sabes Héctor Lavoe Timbales
2000 Feelin’ Good Jazz Club Timbales
1999 Lo Mio Carlos Santos Timbales
1999 O Gringo Bernard Lavilliers Timbales
1999 Untouchable Tito Allen Main Personnel, Timbales
1997 ElectroDuro Charlie Palmieri Timbales
1996 United Nations of Messidor Timbales, Timpani
1995 Two Much [Original Soundtrack] Michel Camilo Drums
1993 Saxofobia Plus Timbales
1993 The Best of Justo Betancourt Justo Betancourt Tma
1992 Live at Carnegie Hall Tico Alegre All Stars Drums
1984 A Giant Step Charlie Palmieri Timbales
1982 Back to Back Ricardo Ray & Bobby Cruz Main Personnel, Timbales
1981 ¡Que Sentimiento! Héctor Lavoe Timbales
1980 Charangueando Con La Tipica 73 Tipica ’73 Drums, Tambourine
1980 En Algo Nuevo La Lupe Timbales
1980 Late Night Guitar Earl Klugh Percussion
1979 Alive & Kicking Chamaco Ramirez Timbales
1978 Rumbambola Orchestra Harlow Drums
1977 Con Salsa y Sabor: Charlie Palmieri & Menique Charlie Palmieri Timbales
1976 Javier Javier Vazquez y Su Salsa Timbales
1976 Reconstruccion Ricardo Ray & Bobby Cruz Soloist, Timbales
1975 Impulsos Charlie Palmieri Timbales
1973 Tito Puente and His Concert Orchestra Tito Puente Drums
1968 Jala Jala y Boogaloo, Vol. 2 Ricardo Ray Main Personnel, Timbales
1967 Jala Jala y Boogaloo Ricardo Ray Main Personnel, Timbales
1966 Se Solto (On the Loose) Ricardo Ray Soloist, Timbales
1962 La Perfecta Eddie Palmieri Percussion
Beethoven’s V Frankie Dante Timbales

Source:  http://www.congahead.com/legacy/Musicians/Meet_Musicians/Collazo/Collazo.htm