"They need him Up There to keep the rumba going," Papo Pepín told the New York Daily News in advance of Saturday's "The Conga Kings" concert at New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
Aguabella played with a variety of artists including Tito Puente, Peggy Lee and Dizzy Gillespie, and was a sacred drummer who taught new generations of percussionists. Raul Fernandez, a professor in UC Irvine's Chicano/Latino studies department, said Aguabella "was the carrier of the tradition.... He was the only person in the U.S. who learned from Cuban masters" that went back to the 19th century.
You can read the news obituary on Aguabella here.
-- Keith Thursby
Photo: Francisco Aguabella, second from left, performs in 2001 with Lilian Martin, left, Joe Adington, right, and dancer Alicia Brach Cruz. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times