The Cuban musician, who Wikipedia refers to as a “rumba quinto master,” would have turned 95 years old today.
Here is more about Santamaria, who was born in Cuba, from the profile:
In 1950 he moved to New York where he played with Perez Prado, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Fania All Stars, etc. He was an integral figure in the fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with R&B and soul, paving the way for the boogaloo era of the late 1960s. His 1963 hit rendition of Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.
Above is “Soca me nice” and below is “Afro Blue.”