“Cuba-Rican soul with jazz and rock ‘n roll” would best describe the style of the world-renowned percussionist, Carlos Gomez. Carlos Gomez has played and recorded with a long list of artists as varied as they are great including: Mariah Carey, Tito Puente, Sade, Airto/Flora Purim, Charlie Palmieri, Gypsy Kings, Gato Barbieri, Arturo Sandoval, Jose Feliciano, Manhattan Transfer, Mickey Hart, Pharaoh Sanders, and Grupo Afro-Cuba de Matanzas. Francois K, Founder of NYC-based Dance label Wave Records, recognizing Carlos’ superlative percussion abilities, produced Carlos’s first solo dance release entitled “Brazilica”. “Brazilica”, a 2001 12” vinyl release featuring dance tracks with multitudes of percussion instruments and styles all played by Gomez, has shipped thousands of units and is being spun by DJ’s at dance clubs worldwide.
Born of Cuban and Puerto Rican lineage and raised in the Bronx, Carlos “Go Go” Gomez grew up listening to old Cuban standards from his mother, while his father played and sang tangos in the house. As a teenager, he was influenced by the great musicians who lived in his neighborhood, i.e. Machito and Eddie Palmieri, but was never too far away from the influence of Afro-Cuban folkloric bembes and Santeria ceremonial toques, or the rock and roll that he heard on the radio. Carlos first began playing professionally at age 14. By the ripe young age of 16, he joined Seguida, one of the first Latin rock bands that experimented in mingling Latin grooves and salsa with rock and roll, recording for the infamous Fania Records. Comprised of young, multi-talented musicians, Seguida was a hit in the New York nightclub scenes, and toured all over the east coast. Throughout the 1970’s Carlos was playing music and studying ethnomusicology at City College of NY. By the end of the decade, Carlos’s calling for performance and his deep studies of spirituality and religion took him to the West Coast, where, in 1979 he established and taught the first program of Afro-Cuban studies in song, drum and dance at the College of the Redwoods. Out west, Carlos was one of the “Ethnic Mercenaries,” a term he coined for a select group of musicians who were hired to play any style, anytime, anywhere. Settling in San Francisco’s Bay area, this ethnic music background, helped him land gigs with jazz greats such as Pharaoh Sanders, Bobby Hutcherson, John Handy, Rodney Franklin, Babatunde, Jules Broussard and Manhattan Transfer, while also playing salsa and Latin jazz with Pete and Coke Escovedo and Sheila E., Conjunto Cespedes and playing high-life and world music with O. J. Ekemode & Nigerian All Stars and Batucaje Brazilian Dance Troup. During the 80’s, Carlos recorded with Narada Michael Walden on his solo album, Maurice Starr's production of Tom Brown’s album and was featured beside Airto, Flora Purim on Mickey Hart's seminal album Dafos, from Mickey's Planet Drum Album series. Carlos also founded his own group, Obi, performing at the famous San Francisco Keystone Korner and eventually joining the Bay Area-based Con Funk Shun, whom he recorded and toured with extensively for many years. The end of the 80’s brought a move to Los Angeles. Here, Carlos began touring with Jose Feliciano, Justo Almario, Strunz & Farah. He landed the percussion/vocal post for Laura Branigan, which he held for eight years, and even became her musical director. Carlos also appeared and played in numerous commercials, TV shows and even had his own Salsa band featured in the motion picture, "Fires Within" and its soundtrack during his stint in Southern California.
Around the early 1990’s, Carlos began touring and recording with Grammy Award winning Arturo Sandoval. He continued to teach seminars at several universities in California and taught privately while deepening his own knowledge by studying stateside with many masters and traveling to Cuba and Nigeria to learn different styles of drumming. Furthering his spiritual studies, he received initiation into the Yoruba religion, IFA, to become a high priest called "Babalawo" in Nigeria. In Matanzas, Cuba, he was initiated into the Anya drumming brotherhood, and also received his own set of fundamento (consecrated religious bata drums). In the field of Cuban Bata, he studied with great masters such as Pedro Jesus Orta "El Asmatico", Francisco "Menini" Zamora, Mario Jauregui, Eugenio Arango, Carlos Aldama, Regino Jimenez and Bolaños, to name a few.
Currently, Carlos lives and plays in New York working with artists such as Little Louie Vega/Nuyorican Soul Orchestra, Roy Ayres, Jocelyn Brown, and Jody Watley. Rarely taking a night off, Carlos works incessantly, playing clubs, and doing dance mixes and recording sessions for the likes of Mariah Carey, Sade, Pet Shop Boys, Lisa Stanfield, Chi Chi Peralta and Maxwell, Naked Music, and David Morales. Carlos is currently in the studios, working on his Afro-Cuban record.