Heralded as "El Maestro" of the mambo sound, Ray Santos has performed, composed and arranged music for dozens of premiere Latin orchestras throughout his more than 50-year career, including the big three of Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez. Santos’ music captures what he calls “the incessant rhythmic drive of the Afro-Cuban sound fused with the power and sonority of Big Band Jazz.”
“Honoring our Lifetime and Trustees Awards recipients, as it is the case of Ray Santos, allows The Latin Recording Academy to accomplish a very important part of its Mission, to honor musical excellence,”
Mr. Santos is widely recognized for composing and arranging music for GRAMMY-winning albums by Tito Puente, Eddie Palmeri and Paquito D’Rivera. In 1992, Santos received critical acclaim for his arrangements on The Mambo Kings movie soundtrack, including the Oscar-nominated song, “Beautiful Maria of My Soul.” In the same year, he collaborated with Linda Ronstadt on “Frenesi,”
Ray Santos is one of only a handful of surviving musicians who recorded on Kenya: Afro-Cuban Jazz, a 1957 landmark album that combined Machito's Latin-jazz band with Cannonball Adderley, Doc Cheatham and Joe Newman.
A New York native and graduate of The Julliard School, Santos is one of the leading authorities on Afro-Caribbean music and appears frequently on radio, television and film, including Cachao: Uno Más and PBS Television’s Latin Music USA. He has been an esteemed music educator at the City College of New York for over 25 years and is frequently invited to lecture at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. including Dartmouth College, Lehman College, and The New England Conservatory of Music and has served as artist-in-residence at the SUNY Purchase College School of the Arts, Conservatory of Music.
Among Santos’ numerous awards are the Chico O’Farrill Lifetime Achievement Award and the Bobby Capo Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2003, Santos was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame.
For more information about Ray Santos or for media inquiries, please visit www.maestroraysantos.com.
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