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(Published: May 19, 2015)

Los Grandes Maestros de La Salsa


Isidro Infante, Paquito Guzman, Ray de la Paz,
Luisto Carrion, Michael Stuart, Moncho Rivera, Miki Vimari

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is proud to present live on stage the PUERTO RICAN MASTERS with Director Isidro Infante featuring Paquito Guzman, Ray de la Paz, Luisto Carrion, Michael Stuart, Moncho Rivera and special guest Diva Miki Vimari and more on Saturday, June 6th, 2015 at 8pm. The Puerto Rican Masters are a select group of the most prominent representatives of classic and contemporary Salsa of the last forty years. The Orchestra, led by Maestro Isidro Infante, is composed of some of the best Puerto Rican musicians resident in New York City. Produced by Lehman Center and Leo Tizol.

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468.  Tickets for PUERTO RICAN MASTERS on Saturday, June 6th, 2015 at 8pm are $65, $55, and $50 and can be purchased by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718-960-8833 (Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm, and beginning at 12 noon on the day of the concert), or through online access at www.LehmanCenter.org .   Lehman Center is accessible by #4 or D train to Bedford Park Blvd. and is off the Saw Mill River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway. Low-cost on-site parking available for $5.

ISIDRO INFANTE was born and raised in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico and is a world-renowned producer, arranger, pianist  and composer. Over the course of his multi-faceted career, he has produced more than 450 albums and his projects have been nominated for 47 Grammy Awards, of which he has won seven, and he has been honored with numerous Billboard, Premios Lo Nuestro, Ace and Paoli awards. He has arranged more than 5,000 scores and has composed more than 125 original songs. Infante developed a love of music as a child by listening to his father play the violin. As a teenager, he studied the piano and played in rock/salsa bands before attending the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico, where he earned a B.A. in Music in 1973. From 1974 to 1989, Infante worked as a producer, arranger and pianist for Fania Records before leaving to become the President of Marcas Records in 1989. In 1980, he collaborated with Louie Ramirez and Ray de la Paz on the breakthrough album Noche Caliente that featured Salsa ballads and became the first album of the genre to sell over a million copies. After becoming the A&R Director of RMM Records in 1992, Infante has had the opportunity to work with just about every major artist in salsa and Latin music, including Tito Puente, Machito, Marc Anthony, Paquito Guzman, Luisto Carrion, Michael Stuart, Celia Cruz, and Johnny Pacheco. In 2009 he became the Musical Director of the Fania All Stars. In 2015  he has produced albums for José Alberto "El Canario", La India, Raphy Leavit & La Selecta, Roberto Roena, Puerto Rican Power and Juan Gabriel.

PAQUITO GUZMÁN, one of the greatest Salsa Romántica vocalists, was born in Santurce, Puerto Rico. In 1959, at the age of twenty, he moved to the Bronx, NY, and went to work in a record shop, hoping to make connections in the music industry. Less than a year later he met Joe Quijano who hired him as the lead singer for his Caribbean pachanga band Joint Cachana, that also included Bobby Valentín on trumpet. Within three years, Joint Cachana recorded seven albums with Guzmán as vocalist including Dance to the Bossa Nova, the Mambo, the Cha Cha Cha and The World's Most Exciting Latin American Orchestra and Revue, the latter record selling 1,000 copies in the first 6 months alone and has become a cult classic often referred to as "The Nostros Album". Firmly established as a bolerista in the new "salsa" movement, Guzmán returned to Puerto Rico in 1962 to sing vocals with Chamaco Ramirez in the Tommy Olivencia band, recording seven albums. Mintiendo Se Gana Mas (1977) marked his first of over twenty albums as a solo artist, and during the 1980's he was widely popular singing in the Salsa Romántica style reaching a high point in sales with his 1986 album Salsa The Best Ballads. 2008 saw the release of Guzmán's well regarded album The Greatest Salsa Ever and his latest record, Iconos: 25 Exitos, was released in 2013.

RAY DE LA PAZ was born in the late 1940's in Harlem, NYC and grew up in the Bronx listening to rock, doo-wop and Mexican influenced music. He took vocal lessons as a child, but it wasn't until 1970 when he stood in as a last minute replacement vocalist for El Conjunto de Don Juan that he first sang Latin music. That night the band opened the concert that also featured Joe Cuba with Cheo Feliciano and Jimmy Sabater, Ricardo Ray and Bobby Cruz, and Eddie Palmieri's La Perfecta with Ismeal Quintana. Ray played with Don Juan for almost two years before hooking up with Chino y su Conjunto Melao, singing on their self-titled first album (1975) that contained the hit "Que Bien Te Vez". During this period he met Louie Ramírez, who asked de la Paz to sing coro on "La Pollera Colora" on the album Conquista Musical with Sonora Ponceña (1976). 1976 was also the year of his recording debut with Ray Barretto on Barretto Live, the first of four records he would cut with Barretto that also included Rican/Struction (1979), Giant Force (1980) and Rhythm of Life (1982). In 1982, de la Paz was tapped by Louie Ramírez, along with José Alberto "El Canario" and Isidro Infante to be part of a novel recording project of doing salsa arrangements of hit ballads, with the result being the album Noche Caliente which spawned the monster hits "Estar Enamorado" and "Todo Se Derrumbó" and created a new style of music now called Salsa Romántica. Ramírez and de la Paz began to tour together and recorded three massively successful Gold records, ¡Con Caché! ('84), Alegres y Romanticos ('85) and Sabor con Clase! ('86), before de la Paz started his solo career, releasing Como Tu Quieras in 1990 on RMM. He reunited with Ramírez in '92 to record Otra Noche Caliente, containing the hits "Suddenly", "Definitivamente" and the ever-popular "Medley". In 2000 he joined the Spanish Harlem Orchestra as lead vocalist and their Grammy nominated debut release Un Gran Dia En El Barrio (2002) was honored with the Latin Billboard Award for Salsa Album of the Year. 2004's Across 110th Street won the Grammy for Best Salsa/Meringue Album and in 2010 they won the Grammy for Best Tropical Latin Album for Viva La Tradicion. Their latest record, the self-titled Spanish Harlem Orchestra was released in 2014.

LUISITO CARRION, who is considered one of the best Puerto Rican soneros today, was born in 1962 and started his musical career playing trumpet at age 13 with his father's band, the Kafé Orchestra. Five years later he found his voice and started singing with Adalberto Santiago and Santitos Colon. In 1982 he joined Julio "Gunda" Merced's group Salsa Fever to record the hit song "Renta de Amor". He sang with the Bobby Valentín Orchestra from 1984 through 1989, recording the classic songs "El Agua"and "El Señor de Las Señoras". Luisito recorded "La Fuga" in 1989 with the Don Perignon Orchestra before becoming the vocalist for Sonora Ponceña in the early 90s, releasing the hits "Yaré" and "A Comer Lechón". After recording the album Mi Musica 1997 with Roberto Roena and Su Apollo Sound, Carrion went solo, regularly recording albums with popular songs like "Sin Tu Amor", "Porque"and "Amiga Mia".

MICHAEL STUART is a vocalist that was born in 1975 in New York City to Puerto Rican parents. As a child he learned to play the trumpet and was influenced by his uncle, the salsa bandleader Isreal "Timbalero" Stuart who allowed young Michael to sing and play the maracas and congas during rehearsals. This led to gigs singing backup for Johnny Rivera, Marc Anthony and Victor Manuelle before recording his own debut album Cuentos de la Vecindad in 1996 on the RMM label. Between 1997 and 1998, he had four Billboard hit singles; "Te Amo" (#6), "Sueno" (#4), "Amor A Primera Vista" (#3) and "Nina Bella" (#1). His second release, 1998's Retratos rose to number 15 on the Billboard Tropical/Salsa chart and was honored with the prestigious Paoli Award. In 2000, he sang "Algo En Ella" for the San Juan based movie Under Suspicion starring Morgan Freeman and Gene Hackman and also released his third successful album Subeme el Volume (#14 on the Tropical/Salsa chart) that mixed salsa with rock, R&B, hip-hop and electronic music, garnering Stuart international recognition. He has continued to release hot hit albums like 2004's multi Latin Grammy award nominated album Sin Moedo and Tribute A Louie Ramirez: Amanece y Sigue Caliente (2011). His most recent single "Estar Enamorado" hit number 12 on the 2012 Billboard Tropical/Salsa chart.

MONCHO RIVERA is a Salsa Sonero with a honeyed voice. A native Puerto Rican, his first two albums Recuerdos De Un Pueblo (2004) and Yo Tengo Lo Mío (2009) were dedicated to preserving the legacy of his Santurce-born uncle, the late, great Sonero Ismael "Maelo" Rivera. His latest release Riveristico Con Clave (2013), with its hot, danceable tracks, establishes Moncho as one of the best of the new generation of Salsa Soneros.

Diva MIKI VIMARI is a Puerto Rican born singer known for her tango boleros "Volver" and "Cuesta Abajo" and her salsa interpretations of songs like "Toma y Dame", "No Sin Pena" and "San José". In 1968, at the age of 17 she moved to New York City to join the orchestra of Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz. Vimari toured and recorded with the orchestra for six years and her sultry vocals can be heard on El Diferente (1970), El Bestial Sonido (1971) and Jammin' Live (1972). In 1972 she recorded the album Ricardo Ray Presenta A "La Vimari" that was rereleased in 1992. Returning to Puerto Rico in 1984, she sang with Johnny Bravo's orchestra, the Tremendón Combo de Sonia Lopez, the Orquesta Ecos, Roberto Vizcarrondo and the Orquesta Experimental. In 2000, she released the album Grandes del Bolero and sang on the Fania Superhits record.

Lehman Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. is supported, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the New York City Council. The 2014-2015 season is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and through corporations, foundations and private donations.

For high resolution photos, click these links:

Paquito Guzman  http://lehmancenter.org/'p=2476

Ray De La Paz  http://lehmancenter.org/'p=2478

More Information: https://www.LehmanCenter.org

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