Mongorama is a Latin jazz ensemble formed by KJazz 88.1 radio personality José Rizo (host of Jazz on the Latin Side), exploring the early Mongo Santamaria charanga-jazz material of the 1950's and early 1960's. Conga legend Mongo Santamaria, saxophonist Chombo Silva and flautist Rolando Lozano performed an exciting Latin jazz sound driven by cuban charanga rhythms and straight ahead jazz. Mongorama celebrates this music through preserving the classic charanga-jazz element of the early 1960's, yet refreshing it with a modern perspective.

Mongorama will feature tenor saxophonist Justo Almario and flautist Danilo Lozano revisiting the explorations of saxophonist Chombo Silva and flautist Rolando Lozano (Danilo's Dad). Rounding out the ensemble are Pablo Mendez (violin), James Zavaleta (lead vocals), George Ortiz (timbales), Joey De Leon (congas), Juan Cosme (vocals), Rene Camacho (bass) and Joe Rotondi (piano).

The debut self-titled Mongorama CD (on Saungu Records) received a Grammy® nomination in 2011. The CD includes special guests Hubert Laws and Poncho Sanchez, performing early Mongo Santamaria material, freshly arranged by Oscar Hernandez and Francisco Torres. Their latest CD, Baila Que Baila, again features conguero Poncho Sanchez, pianist Oscar Hernandez and also guitarist Kenny Burrell, performing on one of Burrell’s classic compositions.

Mongorama was also invited to perform at the Havana International Jazz Festival "Jazz Plaza" in Havana, Cuba in December of 2015. Find out more at

Learn more about "Mongo" Santamaría.