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Cuban jazz pianist helped popularize the cha-cha

Updated: October 26, 2012 2:20PM

MIAMI — A Cuban-born jazz pianist and manager who helped popularize the cha-cha in the U.S. was buried in Miami.

Family members say Jose Curbelo died Friday morning at a hospice in Aventura.

He was 95.

Mr. Curbelo left Cuba in 1939.

He worked with some of the greatest Latin music artists, including percussionist Tito Puente.

Amadito Valdes, a Cuban drummer and member of the Buena Vista Social Club, said Mr. Curbelo was known as “a great defender of Latin bands against abuse by promoters.”

Mr. Curbelo’s daughter, Marta, said he was a charmer with a big personality.

She said he also had plenty of confidence in who he was, and passed that along to her and her brother.


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