Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music


(b 7 May 1942, Santurce, Puerto Rico) Sonero (improvising salsa singer). Started as a bolero singer with Luis Morales's group; invited to audition for six months with newly-formed El Gran Combo '62, stayed for 15 years; his commanding voice became a fundamental part of band's distinctive sound; made 27 LPs with them '62-76 on Gema and EGC. He left to become co-lead vocalist with Venezuelan band Dimension Latina '77-80 (see Oscar D'Leon); made nine LPs with them '77--81 on TH (Top Hits), Color (a division of TH) and Velvet: Los Generales de la Salsa (aka Presentanda: Andy Montañez), Dimension Latina 78/780 Kilos de Salsa, Inconquistable, Dimension Latina '79, Tremenda Dimension!, Combinacion Latina No. 4, Dimension Latina, Dimension Latina en el Madison Square Garden and Para Siempre.

He made solo album Una Dimension Desconocida '78 on LAD (a division of TH); began solo career proper with Salsa Con 'Cache' '80 on LAD, Andy Montañez '81, Trovador del Amor c.'81, Solo Boleros '82, all on Velvet. Signed with LAD/TH (became TH-Rodven '87, then the TH was dropped '93) for a series of albums including Para Ustedes con Sabor! '81, Hoy y Ayer '83 ('Today And Yesterday'), including an EGC hits medley to celebrate their 20th anniversary, both on LAD; TH debut Tania And Andy Montañez '83, Versátil '84; Billboard chart-topper Andy Montañez '85 with all arrs written by Ernesto Rivera, sons Andy Jr and Harold singing chorus; duetted with Milagros Hernández on one track on her La Milagros '86; fronted his gigging band on Mejor Acompañado Que Nunca '86 ('Better Accompanied Than Ever') led by timbalero Don Perignon (real name: Pedro Morales), including Andy Jr. and Harold; after garnering awards in Puerto Rico and Colombia, he made one further album with the band: El Eterno Enamorado '88; returned with Todo Nuevo! '90 with several of PR's choice session musicians, followed up by El Catedrático de la Salsa '91; got back to some seriously swinging salsa redolent of his recordings a decade earlier on El Swing de Siempre '92, featuring his three children: Los Hijos de Andy. His preferred lineup parallels EGC's instrumentation of two trumpets, two saxes and trombone, rhythm section (conga, bongo, timbales, cowbell, maracas, bass, piano) and chorus. He recorded with Puerto Rico All Stars on their '76 eponymous debut, Los Profesionales '77 and Tribute To The Messiah '79 (these three reissued on Combo '92-3), De Regreso '95 on RMM featured his daughter Liza among seven lead vocalists; also as part of all-star Puerto Rican lineups on Festival De Soneros '90 on TTH by La Puertorriqueña, produced by Perignon, and De Aquí Pa'Lla '94 on Emigeba.

A duo of Andy Jr and Harold made their own albums El Comienzo Del Camino '87 and Siguiendo El Camino '89 on Musical Productions. Perignon made a bandleading solo with La Buena Vida! '89 on TTH with trio of lead singers including future solo hit-makers Victor Manuelle and Luisito Carrion (see Bobby Valentin and Papo Lucca entries), followed by Subiendo '92 on LCR. Recommended compilations include Los Años De Andy Montañez Con El Gran Combo '93 on Gema, Cantando Voy Por El Mundo Entero '94 on Vedisco (collects Velvet material), two two-CD sets Oro Salsero: 20 Exitos '94-6 on Rodven (LAD, TH, TH-Rodven material). Andy celebrated 35 years in the music business '95 with a dance in the Centro de Convenciones, Condado, PR; EGC, Dimension Latina and others also participated. He continued in robust form with Vengo A Decir '95 on Rodven.