Funeral services for Francisco Aguabella, the master conguero whose death was announced this week, will take place today (May 14) at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, Calif. Aguabella died May 7 in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. He was 84.

During his six decade career in the United States, after emigrating from Cuba in the 1950s, Aguabella became a major force of Latin jazz, performing and recording with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Perez Prado, Cal Tjader, Bebo Valdes and Eddie Palmieri, among many others.

But, Aguabella was a versatile musician who enjoyed going outside his genre, and also recorded with the likes of Carlos Santana, Paul Simon and the Doors. Known as the “Master of the Batá Drum,” (for the double headed drum shaped as an hourglass), was the recipient of the National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and was featured in the documentary “Sworn to the Drum” by filmmaker Les Blank.

At the time of his death, a documentary titled “Aguabella,” directed by Orestes Matacena, was under production.

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