Biographies of New York City Musicians

New York City
Cubop, Latin Jazz
Born in Cuba, Mario Bauzá was a child prodigy on the clarinet. As a 9-year-old, he played in the Havana Philharmonic and also performed with popular dance bands. Bauzá first traveled to New York for a recording...
New York City
Latin Jazz, Rumba
Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Ramón “Mongo” Santamaría established himself as one of the premier congueros (conga players) in the Havana dance band scene. In the late 1940s he played with Orquesta...
New York City
Cha Cha Cha, Mambo
For many people, Dámaso Pérez Prado personified the mambo in the 1950s.  Garnering attention as the pianist and arranger for Cuba’s most famous band, La Sonora Matancera, he worked with a variety of...
New York City
Salsa
Rubén Blades Bellido de Luna, born in Panama City, is one of the most famous poets and singers of salsa music. Raised in a musical home, he studied law and economics at the Universidad Nacional de Panamá, but...
New York City
Cha Cha Cha, Mambo
Born in 1923 to Puerto Rican parents in New York, Ernesto Antonio Puente studied piano and percussion as a child and was playing professionally while still in his teens. He played briefly with Machito and his Afro-Cubans, the top...
New York City
Cha Cha Cha, Latin Jazz, Mambo
Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Tito Rodríguez moved to New York in 1940 when his parents died. There he stayed with his older brother Johnny, a successful singer who had moved to New York several years previously. A...