Grammy Winning Bassist Charles Flores Dead At 41: Jazz bassist Charles Flores, perhaps best known for his work with pianist Michel Camilo, has died at age 41 after a two-year battle with throat cancer. Born in Cuba, Flores lived in Hartford and worked with many notable musicians, including Paquito D’Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Dave Valentin and others. He won a Grammy Award with Camilo for Best Latin Jazz album in 2004 for the album Live At The Blue Note.
Flores’ career began in Cuba, where he was born in 1970 and started playing bass at age ten. However, Cuba’s strict policies prevented him from delving into his love of jazz and American music, and Flores would eventually flee to the United States as a refugee. He worked with Cuban vocalist Bobby Carcasses and pianist Emiliano Salvador, and later formed his own group “Afro-Cuba” in the early nineties, releasing the album Acontecer. He also toured internationally with the Issac Delgado group, appearing on three studio albums, before joining Camilo’s group in 2002. Michel spoke of Flores’ outstanding work last year during the recording of his latest album Mano A Mano. “Charles has been with me for awhile now,” said the pianist. “I’ve seen him grow to become a tremendous bass player. He not only has a great technique but also a great harmonic concept and this sense of space, of economy, in the Charlie Haden tradition.”
Both Camilo and Hartford’s Mayor Pedro Segarra both had kind words over the weekend after learning of Flores’ death. “Charles’ story of leaving his native Cuba to pursue his dream and passion for music was only surpassed by his talent and skill as a musician,” said Segarra, while Camillo offered, “He will be so greatly missed, both as a wonderful human being and as a great bass player. He will live on in the hearts of everyone who loved him.”