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Sunday, 26 January 2014

Hector Rivera born 26 January 1933

Héctor Rivera, (b 26 Jan. '33 in Manhattan, NYC, d 8 Jan. '06, NYC) was a talented and highly respected Latin pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader and producer.

Started pro career with rumba band of José Rodríguez; studied at NYC's Lecompte Academy of Music, as well as under pianist Luis Varona and Eddie Forestier '48; latter hired him to fill the piano chair with his band. Joined Elmo García's orchestra '51; departed '52 to organise his own band Los Tubos del Mambo, which debuted at Hunts Point Palace in the Bronx on same bill as Orlando Marín's recently formed group including pianist Eddie Palmieri. Drafted into the US Army '53-5, did a tour of duty in Korea; after his discharge he studied arranging and composing with Gil Fuller, played with bands of Alfredito Levy (a six month stint) and Moncho Leña.

During the cha cha chá era, Rivera secured a recording date from Fuller (in his capacity as A&R man) earmarked for an aggrieved García, whose other arranger had let him down; the outcome was Rivera's LP debut Let's Cha Cha Chá '57 on Mercury; he composed and arranged the entire album accompanied by Machito's band minus saxes. After this he led a quintet, did a one-year stint with Arsenio Rodríguez and replaced Palmieri in the Vicentico Valdés orchestra '58-64.

While still with Valdés, he made two classic early '60s LPs for Epic: Charanga & Pachanga!, including Manny Oquendo on bongo and Santos Colón, Rudy Calzado and Valdés contributing vocals, and Viva Rivera! '61. Following Valdés, he played and recorded with Johnny Pacheco's band Nuevo Tumbao '64-6. Contributed his talents to a number of Joe Cuba's key '60s albums. Had top 40 hit with the boogaloo / Latin soul single "At The Party" '67, included on the Latin soul set At The Party With Héctor Rivera '67.

Sadly, Rivera was among those bandleaders "locked-out" from NYC's monopolistically controlled salsa gig circuit during the '70s, and eventually retired from the frontline salsa scene.

In Feb. 2000, The Point Community Development Corporation, a Latino run organisation located in the Hunts Point Section of the Bronx, awarded Héctor and nine other individuals for their contributions to Latin music.

Hector contracted Parkinson's disease and reportedly died of pneumonia. (Info edited from The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music )

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For At The Party with Hector Rivera go here:

(Original 1966 LP plus bonus tracks)

1 At The Party
2 Shingaling Baby
3 My Foolish Heart
4 Pra Voz Wilma
5 I Got My Eye On You
6 Got To Make Up Your Mind
7 Playing It Cool
8 Drown My Heart
9 Calypso #10
10 Do It To Me
11 Asia Minor
12 I Want A Chance For Romance
13 Hueso Y Pellejo
14 Aunque Tu Mami No Querra (aka Lilly)
15 At The Party (Band Track)
16 I Want A Chance For Romance (Band Track)

A monster album of Latin soul – arguably the greatest record ever cut by Hector Rivera! The record's a rare cooker that never lets up at all – a non-stop boogaloo party that definitely lives up to its swinging cover image – and which is quite different than most other albums from Hector! English language lyrics are at the lead on most numbers – and the rhythms have a romping blend of soul and Latin that's right up there with the same Spanish Harlem groove as work on Fania or Cotique, although arguably even better! There's lots of heavy piano in the grooves, and vocals on some cuts are sung by David Coleman – a singer we only know from this record, but who really makes it shine. Titles include "Playing It Cool", "At The Party", "Shingaling Baby", "I Got My Eye On You", "Pra Voz Wilma", and "Asia Minor". © 1996-2014, Dusty Groove, Inc.