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posted on 06.09.09

Of course there is salsa music in many places, it's just that there is something special about what has come from New York City. They have a punch, the city attitude and a will to go deep into the jam as they carry the latin diaspora experience. Here 8 salseros from –born or raised– New York City:

Williie Colón: "As a trombone player, he shaped the gritty, aggressive sound of the brass that characterized the New York sound." - Robert Leaver (

Ray Barretto: "Barretto is credited for being the first U.S.-born percussionist to integrate the African-based conga drum into jazz. This fact has designated him as on of the early "crossover" artists in jazz -- skillfully balancing his Latin leanings and his love for bebop througout a long and successful career." - Rolando Arrieta (

Richie Ray: "The Brooklyn native went to High School for Performing Arts and Julliard School of Music. He put together the essentials of classical music along with Afrolatin rhythms like guajira, chachachá, boogaloo and son." - (

Eddie Palmieri: "Palmieri himself is an incredible piano player, dramatic and percussive, deeply influenced by McCoy Tyner but very much an individual talent. He's had his ups and downs over the years, and his body of work reflects that, but when he's at his best there's nobody better, and he's been at his best very often." - (

José Mangual Jr.: "It took a long time for someone to come up with a tribute to the late Chano Pozo, veteran conga player.... José Mangual, Jr. does a fantastic job with the help of the top Latin rhythm section in the music business." - Cash Box

Johnny Pacheco: "With his first recording, Pacheco y su Charanga, released by Alegre Records in 1961, Pacheco changed the sound of music throughout Latin America and ushered in the "Pachanga" (a strenous dance) era which faded out in 1964." - Max Salazar, All Music Guide

Joe Cuba: "In contrast to the majority of Latin orchestras of the era, which were larger and relied on trombones and other brass instruments to define their sound, Mr. Cuba’s group went for a cooler approach. A vibraphone and piano often played the main melodic lines, floating atop a strong and assertive rhythm section." - Larry Rohter (

Tito Puente: "Puente was responsible for making timbales a respectable solo instrument in Latin dance music and Latin jazz. He was also an accomplished player of the vibraphone, alto sax, bass, piano and drums, as well as an arranger and band leader." - (

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Tito Puente
Willie Colón






Latin Music
Nuyorican Culture