Lehman Center for the Performing Arts continues its 31st season celebration with a night of spectacular music honoring a world-famous salsa singer and living legend — A Tribute To Adalberto Santiago — on Saturday, July 7, 2012 at 8:00p.m. Performing at this extraordinary event will be some of salsa’s most celebrated singers — Adalberto Santiago, Bobby Cruz, Nino Segarra, Ray Sepulveda, NG2, Frankie Vazquez, Johnny Cruz, Ray Bayona, Cheo Medina, Javier Marrero, Yolanda Rivera and special invited guests Renzo Padilla, Eddie Montalvo and Johnny Rodriguez. The concert is produced by Johnny Cruz in association with Lehman Center.
Lehman Center for the Performing Arts is on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY at 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY. Tickets for A Tribute To Adalberto Santiago featuring Adalberto Santiago, Bobby Cruz, Nino Segarra, Ray Sepulveda, NG2, and others on Saturday, July 7, 2012 at 8pm are $60, $55, and $45 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 24-hour 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 is available for $5.
Adalberto Santiago, born in barrio Pozas of Ciales, Puerto Rico, began his professional career singing with trios and playing bass and guitar. Known for his flawless lead vocals, he can be heard on over 75 recordings. After stints with Chuíto Vélez, Willie Rodríguez and Willie Rosario, he recorded seven albums between 1966 and 1972 as lead singer for Ray Barretto’s band before leaving to co-create Tipica ’73, with whom he recorded three albums. He later formed Los Kimbos and was a founding member of the Fania All-Stars. In 1977 he released the first of many solo albums, Adalberto, produced by Ray Barretto, which was reissued in 2006. This was followed by Adalberto Featuring Popeye El Marino (1979) co-produced by Adalberto and Louie Ramírez. Feliz me siento (1980) was made in tandem with the Grammy-nominated Ray Barretto collaboration Rican/Struction. The rootsy Adalberto Santiago (1981) was produced by La Sonora Matancera’s longtime pianist Javier Vázquez. The Grammy-nominated Tremendo Trio! (1983) was a collaboration with Barretto and Celia Cruz. After 1984’s Cosas del Alma, a set of lush boleros, he returned to harder-edged urban salsa in 1985 with Más sabroso on Tropical Budda. Sex Symbol (1989) and Hay algo en ella (1991) were Adalberto’s contribution to the salsa romántica movement. He sang lead vocals on recordings by such artists as Lou Pérez, Louie Ramírez, Tito Puente, Roberto Roena, Alfredo Rodríguez, Larry Harlow’s Latin Legends Band, Papo Lucca, Jazz Hamilton y Las Estrellas Del Pueblo, Ralph Irizarry and Mario Ortiz Jr. Santiago has written songs for a number of the albums on which he has appeared, both as bandleader and solo artist, and provided compositions for other artists to record, such as Joe Cuba.
Bobby Cruz, who won his first Latin Grammy® Award in 2007 for Best Traditional Tropical Album for Románticos De Ayer, Hoy Y Siempre, has had one of the longest partnerships in Latin music – over 50 years – with pianist Richie Ray. In 1966, as lead singer in Ray’s orchestra, Puerto Rican-born Cruz scored a major hit with “Mr. Trumpet Man,” and by 1968, the band was officially Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz. Numerous hits include “AgÃºzate,” “A Mi Manera” (My Way), and timeless masterpieces “Ya Ni Te Acuerdas” and “La Zafra.”
Nino Zegarra was born in Maricao, Puerto Rico into a family of musicians and learned to play a variety of instruments. After earning a Bachelor’s degree in music at the Inter-American University in San German, Puerto Rico, he began arranging for theater productions and symphony orchestras. By the late ‘80s he was arranging for numerous salsa singers, including Andy Montañez, Marvin and Eddie Santiago and Oscar de Leon. Zegarra also produced and arranged his own songs, including “Con la mÃºsica por dentro,” “Solo por tí” and “Porque te amo”, which became a #1 hit in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Latin America. In 1998, he released the hit album Romántico salsero. He was nominated for a 2007 Latin Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Tropical Album for De Nino a Nino: Homenaje a Nino Bravo.
Ray SepÃºlveda was born into a Puerto Rican family that settled in New York. The salsa singer was inspired by Latin artists at a very young age, especially tropical performers, and learned much from his father, Ray SepÃºlveda Sr., a bolero singer and recording artist with the Trío Los Románticos. As a teenager, SepÃºlveda Jr. sang with a band from Mayaqüéz, Puerto Rico called La Justicia, which became La Solución. He later performed with Frankie Ruíz in La Dictadora. After living in Puerto Rico for six years, he emerged on the New York scene in 1977 with the Sociedad 76 Orchestra, recording for the first time on Fania Records, and in 1983 joined the Adalberto Santiago Orchestra. In 1988 he formed the Johnny and Ray Orchestra with fellow Sociedad ’76 alum, percussionist Johnny Ray (Zamot), and recorded two albums for PolyGram Records: Salsa Con Clase, yielding the chart-topping single “Mascarada,” and Night Gold. After many successful years with PolyGram, SepÃºlveda released five solo albums on RMM Records
NG2, the trailblazing pop-salsa duo comprised of vocalists Norberto Vélez and Gerado Rivas, were far from newcomers when they arrived on the scene. Vélez embarked on his career at the age of ten, playing traditional Puerto Rican music with local groups and joining Orquesta Trompeta de Trovadores at 17. He joined Victor Manuelle’s orchestra some time later, where he met his future musical partner. Rivas gained experience early on with his group Gerardito y Los Rockolos. He studied percussion at the Escuela Libre de Musica and, after graduation, joined Manuelle’s orchestra as a percussionist. With songwriting and production help from industry veterans like Manuelle and Ramón Sánchez, NG2 released their debut disc, Comienzos, in 2004. The record generated the radio hits “Algo imposible” and “Quitémonos la ropa,” which reached #2 on Billboard’s Latin Tropical Airplay charts. The band’s sophomore effort produced the hit songs “Como amigo no,” “No me perdones,” and “La nueva generación.”
Johnny Cruz, born in New York City to Puerto Rican parents, was raised in NYC and Puerto Rico and began his musical quest in the early ‘80s playing trombone, later switching to timbales. He studied an array of Latin percussion instruments and during the early ‘90s started a band called Johnny Cruz y Su Generacion. After a sabbatical from music to pursue businesses, he released a CD in 2006, Johnny Cruz and the Dream Team Band – Back to the Classics, recorded with some of the best singers and musicians in salsa, including singers Adalberto Santiago, Frankie Vazquez, Ray Bayona, Cheo Medina and Ray Sepulveda. In 2007 Cruz realized another dream with the opening of his own recording studio. In April he traveled to Puerto Rico to participate in a birthday tribute celebration for Adalberto Santiago, who had recently turned 70. Cruz is currently planning a recording project – Johnny Cruz Pays Tribute to the Godfather of Salsa – 50th Anniversary – a tribute to Adalberto Santiago.
Lehman Center 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 2011-2012 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, JPMorgan Chase, and through corporations, foundations and private donations.