El Gran Combo is undoubtedly an institution in Puerto Rico’s music history. The internationally reknown salsa band was born in the aftermath of the breakup of the Combo de Rafael Cortijo in 1962. Some of the combo’s members reunited for the production together with Dominican artist Josíto Mateo resulting in the release of “Menéame los mangos”. The group was dubbed El Gran Combo by empresario Rafael Alvarez Guedes, who was instrumental in arranging for the album’s production. Members included Rafaél Ithier, Eddie Pérez, Héctor Santos, Kito Vélez, Martín Quiñones, Miguel Cruz and Roberto Roena.
Here is a Video clip of their latest concert on 14th June 2006:
Throughout the years, this legandary combo has produced uncounted salsa hits with a distinctive sound, as is evident in this song: Aguacero, known as salsa vieja. Some of their better known classic hits are: El Menú and Timablero.
Today, El Gran Combo’s members include: Rafael Ithier (musical director, piano), Charlie Aponte, Jerry Rivas and Papo Rosario (vocals); Taty Maldonado (trumpet); Víctor Rodríguez and Moisés Nogueras (trombones); Freddie Miranda (sax), Eddie Pérez (alto sax); Freddie Rivera (bass); Miguel Torres (congas); Domingo Santos (timbales) and Mitchell Laboy (bongó).
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