The Kennedy Center

Frank Colón


Frank Colón, a specialist in Latin-Caribbean, Brazilian and Asian percussion instruments. including congas, bongos, timbales, batá drums, chequeré, cuica, berimbau, and tabla drums, was born in Washington, D.C, and raised in Puerto Rico. A graduate of The American University, he studied biology, political science and psychology and did extensive personal research in ethnomusicology. Mr. Colón began his career with a five-year stint in Julito Collazo's New York Afro-Cuban drum ensemble. On the city's jazz scene, he worked with bassist Walter Booker, pianist John Hicks, saxophonist Charles Davis, pianist/composer Marco Rizo, Michael Babatunde Olatunji, and composer/trumpeter Tex Allen. He went on to perform and record with Gato Barbieri, Airto, Flora Purim, Harry Belafonte, Weather Report, and Tania Maria. During three years in Milton Nascimento's Rio de Janeiro band, Mr. Colón toured Europe and Brazil, and recorded three albums with the band, MPB4 , on which album he introduced the Afro-Caribbean chequeré into Brazilian music. In Rio Mr. Colón also worked with Gilberto Gil, Ney Matogrosso, Marina, Elba Ramalho, Chico Buarque, Wagner Tiso, Robertinho Silva, RPM, and others. He returned to New York to join The Manhattan Transfer, remaining for 12 years. He performed and recorded with Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Harry Belafonte, George Clinton, Paquito D'Rivera, Airto, Felix Cavalieri, Mary J. Blige, Gal Costa, Ernie Watts, Azymuth, Jon Lucien, and Dianne Reeves,. Recently, Mr. Colón has been touring and recording with Gato Barbieri, Michael Wolff's “Impure Thoughts” band, and Aretha Franklin as well as with Samir Chatterjee's World Music Ensemble and violinist Michael Galasso. His two albums as a leader are: Frank Colón – Live at VartanJazz, and Latin Wonder-The Music of Stevie Wonder. Frank Colón's program in the K.C. Jazz Club will feature music from his Latin Wonder CD. Mr. Colón appeared on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage on October 30, 2003, with the Adam Klipple Quartet in the kick-off concert to their Kennedy Center / U.S. Department of State Jazz Ambassadors tour to Russia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova.

April 2004
Frank Colón