Cuban percussionist Miguel "Anga" Diaz, an acclaimed conga master who perfected a five-drum technique that allowed him to explore different genres from progressive jazz to traditional Afro-Cuban standards, died at his Barcelona home at the age of 45 on August 9. The cause of death was apparently a heart attack.
Diaz, a former member of Irakere, was regarded as one of the world's leading exponents of Afro-Cuban percussion. He often collaborated with Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, and bassist Orlando Cachaito Lopez. He also participated in Juan de Marcos Gonzalez's Afro-Cuba All Stars with the likes of Ruben Gonzalez and Ibrahim Ferrer.
Recently Diaz released the album Echu Mingua, his debut as a bandleader, under the World Circuit label. According to the L.A. Times, a week before his death, Diaz performed in Barcelona with his new ensemble, fusing popular Brazilian music with Afro-Cuban jazz. He also recently formed a new trio with Cachaito and flamenco pianist Chano Dominguez. A new live album, recorded by Radio France, is due for release Oct. 10, on Sosa's Ota Records. -Lissette Corsa