Chano Pozo: Age 33 | Cause Of Death: GUNSHOT

(b. Luciano Pozo y Gonzales, 7 June 1915, Havana, Cuba, d. 2 December 1948, NYC)

Q:  Since you mentioned the coming together of mambo and jazz, what exactly was “Manteca” and “Tanga”?  There are those that say it was heroin, and those that say it was marijuana. For their benefit, which was it?  

A:  It was pot. It was what got Chano Pozo killed. The story was that this guy gave him some bad quality stuff and Chano beat him up for that. Chano had a reputation as a tough street fighter from Havana so the guy went and got a gun and did him in.
Q&A: A Conversation With Ray Santos By George Rivera 

Drummer and vocalist Pozo’s first appearance in the USA was at a Carnegie Hall concert in September 1947, at which he played with Dizzy Gillespie. Thereafter he worked regularly with Gillespie, making a number of records which were enormously influential on many jazzmen who responded to the intriguing Latin-American rhythms he used. In December 1948, before the two men could fully exploit what was clearly a potentially exciting musical relationship… 

The effect of Chano Pozo to the attitudes of Jazz musicians in the whole USA was permanent. Unfortunately, Chano was killed in 1948 on a dispute for drugs. “Cabito”, a veteran of the Second World War killed him because Chano slapped his face. Chano’s real name was Luciano Pozo y Gonzalez. He was Cuban born and a member of the Black Cuban Abakua secret society. He descended from Nigerian slaves brought to Cuba to work the sugarcane fields.  His contribution to Latin-Jazz is enormous and permanent. You must listen only to two of his compositions to
understand what I mean. I am referring to Manteca and Tin-Tin-Deo. Sabu Martinez, a Puerto Rican bongo player,
played alongside Chano Pozo in Gillespie’s orchestra. ~Prado pag