The Boston Globe
By Donna Goodison
November 14, 2004
Eguie Castrillo wants to take you back to when mambo was king.The time was the 1950s, when Latin music moved from New York's Spanish Harlem to the Palladium Ballroom at 53d Street and Broadway. The Palladium was the mambo mecca, where Latinos, Italians, and African-Americans flocked to hear the Latin big-band sounds of the orchestras led by Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, and Machito.
''What I really want is for people to go into a time machine and go back to that era," said Castrillo, a Berklee College of Music associate professor who teaches Afro-Cuban percussion. ''The Palladium was a very, very unbelievably important place. That was the first time that Latin music was in downtown New York."
Castrillo counted Puente, who died in 2000, as a friend, mentor, and idol. He credits the Latin jazz percussionist and bandleader for inspiring his musical career. ''I started playing [the timbales] when I was 7 years old," said Castrillo. ''This is the instrument that he really put in front of the orchestra and gave very special treatment to. After many years, I got to play with him and tour with him."
Castrillo has also toured and recorded with Jennifer Lopez, Paquito D'Rivera, Steve Winwood, Celia Cruz, KC and the Sunshine Band, and the Boston Pops. He too scored a Grammy for playing on Arturo Sandoval's ''Hot House."