Get our free newsletter
The late Tito Puente once declared Carlos “Patato” Valdes “the greatest conguero alive”—and, at 81 years of age, Valdes doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. The same could be said about Valdes’ 86-year-old bandmate Candido Camero, who—along with fusion master Giovanni Hidalgo—leads the 11-piece Conga Kings ensemble. The three musicians have storied careers, having performed with heavyweights like Tony Bennett, Dizzy Gillespie, and Puente. The youngest in the trio is Hidalgo (born in 1963), who hails from Puerto Rico and also has a distinguished résumé in both the jazz and Latin music scenes. The music they make together—a blend of classic salsa dura with modern Latin jazz elements—is laid-back in presentation but musically serious; the result is a sound that is rhythmically rich and utterly captivating. The Conga Kings perform at 8 p.m. at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium, 730 21st St. NW. $20–$35. (202) 357-3030.