The world-renowned percussionist, Carlos “Go Go” 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, Eartha Kitt and D.J. Francois K.
Francois K, Founder of NYC-based Dance label Wave Records, recognizing Carlos’ superlative percussion abilities, produced Carlos’ 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 tens of 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. 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 Salsa with Rock-n-Roll, recording for the famous 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’ 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 of song, drum and dance at the College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California. 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, his ethnic music background, helped Carlos 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 juju/high-life and world music with O. J. Ekemode & Nigerian All Stars and Batucaje Brazilian Dance Troup. During the 80’s, Carlos recorded with world famous producer/ drummer Narada Michael Walden on his solo album, Maurice Starr's (of New Edition fame) production of Tom Brown’s album and was featured beside Airto and Flora Purim on The Grateful Dead’s drummer 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, and Strunz & Farah. He landed the percussion/vocal post for Laura Branigan (of the song, “Gloria” fame), which he held for eight years, and even became her musical director. Carlos also appeared and played in numerous films, commercials, TV shows and even had his own Salsa band “A Go Go Gomez” featured in the motion picture, "Fires Within" and its soundtrack.
Around the early 1990’s, Carlos began touring and recording with Arturo Sandoval. In 1994 he recorded a multitude of percussion instruments on Arturo Sandoval’s Danzon/Dance On on GRP Records which won Arturo his first Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album of the Year. Carlos 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. Carlos was initiated into the Ayan drumming brotherhood by Olu Bata Pedro Jesus Orta “El Asmatico” whom he studied with for many years. In Matanzas, Cuba, Carlos received his own set of fundamento (consecrated religious bata drums). In the field of Cuban Bata, he also studied with great masters such as Mario “Aspirina” Jauregui, Eugenio Arango, Carlos Aldama, Regino Jimenez, Julito Suarez “El Fantoma”, Angel Bolaños and others. Francisco "Menini" Zamora, the leader of Afro-Cuba de Matanzas, and the world renowned Lazaro Ros were a couple of Carlos’ many teachers in Orisha and Afro-Cuban songs.
Currently, Carlos lives in Connecticut, and plays internationally, working with artists such as Eartha Kitt, Francois K, 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, Maxwell, Jay Denes of Naked Music and David Morales of DEF Jam.