Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

(b 1963, Puerto Rico) Salsa/Latin jazz trumpeter, producer, arranger, composer, bandleader. He began trumpet lessons at age twelve and made his pro debut at 14, playing third trumpet with his father's band Orquesta San Juan. He studied at the Free School of Music in PR, Berklee School of Music in Boston (majoring in jazz composition and arranging) and Grove Institute in Los Angeles (post-graduate soundtrack studies) before joining Willie Rosario's band back in PR '85, including co-lead singers Tony Vega and Gilberto Santa Rosa. After played on and arranged one track on Afincando/25 Aniversario '85, Rosario promoted him to producer on the Grammy-nominated Nueva Cosecha '86; he remained a further two years to handle production chores, perform and arrange on Rosario's A Man Of Music '87 and The Salsa Legend '88, leaving to freelance as a producer/arranger; he became Vega's music director and producer from that year and arranger for a great many artists. He also led the Jazz Project, based in San Juan, making his solo debut with them on Humberto Ramírez Jazz Project '92 on RMM's Tropijazz label; it sold poorly but won the Farándula Diplo Award for Best Latin Jazz Recording '93; the follow-up Aspects '93 on Tropijazz, including guests Tito Puente, Bobby Valentín and Giovanni Hidalgo, received considerable airplay. The third Tropijazz release Portrait Of A Stranger '95 was his most ambitious to then, featuring guests Rosario and Dave Valentín, and including the hit salsa duet 'Un Tipo Con Suerte' sung by Vega and Santa Rosa.