Born: April 4, 1954
An exciting and high-powered virtuoso pianist, Michel Camilo came from a very musical family (with all nine of his uncles being musicians). Originally playing accordion, he switched to piano when he was 16. After moving to New York in 1979, his song "Why Not?" became a hit for the Manhattan Transfer and caught on as a standard, and "Caribe" entered the repertoire of Dizzy Gillespie. Camilo, who worked with Paquito D'Rivera's band for three years (cutting an album with "Why Not?" as the title cut), recorded for Electric Bird (sessions reissued by Evidence) and Columbia, and worked as a leader beginning in the mid-'80s.