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Victor Parra Tribute

Mambo Express

Victor Parra Tribute

The legendary Chicago radio host, musician, bandleader and music historian Victor Parra has died. Parra passed away on Wednesday, July 26, 2023 at the age of 87. Parra shared his deep knowledge and love of Afro-Cuban Jazz with Chicago radio listeners for many years. His Sunday afternoon “Mambo Express” program was a favorite of WDCB listeners from 2004 until his retirement from radio in 2017.

Before joining us here at WDCB, Parra had hosted the “Mambo Express” at WBEZ for more than 15 years during the ‘80s and ‘90s. He also co-led the “Mambo Express” band with his talented wife Connie for several decades, performing regularly at venues across Chicagoland. In the early and mid ‘70s, before he began hosting a radio program, Parra owned his own record store, VP Records, in Wicker Park, which specialized in Latin Jazz. He spent his life spreading his love of music and became a beloved presence on the airwaves. We all learned from him and will never forget his dedication, personality and spirit!

Here’s an extensive radio interview WDCB’s Gary Zidek did with Victor Parra, looking back at his career as he prepared to retire from his ”Mambo Express” program in 2017.

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