Necessity was the mother of invention behind Latin Percussion for young
mechanical engineer and avid photographer Martin Cohen. In 1956, the creative
Bronx native happened upon New York's Birdland Jazz Club and was captivated by
the sounds of hot Latin Jazz. As a regular at the Monday night jam sessions at
the club, Cohen had difficulty obtaining instruments for his own use, partly
because of the US embargo on Cuban goods. Unable to buy congas, bongos, and
similar instruments of the quality other performers had, he sought to produce
his own, and so Latin Percussion was born.
Cohen put his engineering skills to use and made his own set of bongos from
a photo he took at a Johnny Pacheco set. After much trial and error he produced
a good set of bongos, found a ready market, and filled a void. In August of
1964 he worked his last day for someone else, officially starting Latin
Percussion. In building Latin Percussion's first patented instruments, Cohen
used durable modern materials to replace rare and fragile instruments without
sacrificing sound quality. Cohen was one of the first makers of fiberglass
congas, which gained favor with Latin dance bands because of their great
Cohen's commitment from the beginning has been to combine authentic sound
with strong modern design. LP pioneered the use of many ethnic
instruments for wider musical uses, and continues to be a leading innovator
in this area. They are particularly known for their revolutionary plastic wood
blocks, claves, agogo
bells, and cowbells. As
the company expanded, it added imported lines to its catalog, and has also
become an exporter.
Cohen himself still travels to clubs around the world, taking photographs
and talking to musicians, gathering feedback from those who use and love LP
instruments. It's been a long time since one had to violate trade embargoes to
get a good pair of bongos. Martin Cohen and the Latin Percussion family can
take substantial credit for that.
Sam Ash is known as a resource within the music community for exotic
percussion from all over the world.
If you cannot find the specific regional instrument needed for your sound, our
renowned customer service team
will be happy to assist you and get you what you want.