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Fania Salsa (2 Hard Songs) - Jimmy Sabater

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Published on Dec 24, 2009

1 - Perfidia
2 - Alafia

Jimmy Sabater, Sr. (born on April 11, 1936 in Harlem Hospital, New York City) is a Latin musician, son of Nestor Sabater and Teresa Gonzalez of Ponce, Puerto Rico.

He grew up in East Harlem, the Spanish Quarter of New York City known as El Barrio. Like most teenagers in the neighborhood, he played stickball, flew kites, and harmonized the tunes of the popular R&B groups and vocalists of the day such as Nat King Cole.

He was inspired by percussionists such as Willie Bobo, Uba Nieto, Papi Pagani, Monchito Muñoz, and Willie Rodriguez. With encouragement from many of these same drummers who were from El Barrio, Jimmy practiced playing the timbales, the standing drum kit made world-famous by the great Rey del Timbal, Maestro Tito Puente. It was during a 1951 stickball game between the Devils and the 112th Street Viceroys that Jimmys life would turn towards history. A young man named Gilberto Calderon of the Devils met Jimmy, and invited him to a party. The two became fast friends. They had a lot in common. Both wanted to be musicians after being influenced by the music of Machito, Marcelino Guerra, Noro Morales, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez. 1954 saw the Joe Panama Sextet as one of Spanish Harlems most popular music groups. When Panamas Conguero, left the group, Jimmy recommended his friend Gilberto for the job. Soon after, bandleader Joe Panama fired his sidemen and replaced them with others. The now unemployed musicians which included vocalist Willie Torres and pianist Nick Jimenez formed a group which included bassist Roy Rosa, vibraphonist Tommy Berrios, timbalero Jimmy Sabater, and conguero Gilberto Calderon (who had been selected by the musicians to direct the band.)

One evening, the group appeared at La Bamba Club in midtown Manhattan under the name of The Joe Panama Sextet. When Panamas mother threatened to sue Gilberto if he continued using the name, promoter Catalino Rolón recommended that the group change its name to The Joe Cuba Sextet. So they did. They played gigs in the clubs of El Barrio, as well as upstate New York venues such as The Pines Resort. The popularity of Cubas sextet began to rise when José Cheo Feliciano joined the group. This occurred when Jose Curbelos vocalist Santitos Colon replaced Gilberto Monroig in Tito Puentes band. Willie Torres then left Joe Cubas Sextet, and replaced Santitos in Curbelos orchestra. This opened the door for Cheo with Joe Cuba. This worked out perfectly for Cuba. Feliciano was selected to sing songs with Spanish lyrics, while Jimmy was selected to sing songs with English lyrics. From the late 1950s and into the early 1960s the Sextet recorded on the Mardi Gras label, constantly increasing their popularity. In 1962, Seeco Records recorded Joe Cubas album Steppin Out. This album would become a monster hit, and Jimmy would become part of history, as on the album he sang perhaps the love song of that era, To Be With You, by Willie Torres. Nick Jimenez composed the melody, but Cubas decision to have Jimmy sing the lyrics thrusted Sabater into almost immediate international recognition.

Cubas sextet signed with Tico Records in 1964. By showcasing the smooth vocal style of Sabater, the group had achieved tremendous fame, both in the United States and around the world. In 1966, they recorded two blockbuster albums, We Must Be Doing Something Right, and Wanted Dead or Alive. Something Right scored big because of Jimmy and Nickys hit composition El Pito (Ill Never Go Back to Georgia). Wanted is a landmark recording because it was the first Boogaloo style album to sell one million records. This happened largely in part because of another smash composition of Sabater and Jimenez called Bang Bang. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Jimmy also had a flourishing career as a soloist, releasing the classic albums The Velvet Voice of Jimmy Sabater, El Hijo de Teresa, and Solo. In 1977 Jimmy Sabater left the Joe Cuba Sextet. From 1977 to 1981, he was the lead vocalist for Al Levy (Alfredito). 1980 saw Jimmy record the outstanding album Gusto on the Fania Records label. In 1982, Jimmy co-led El Combo Gigante with Charlie Palmieri until Charlies untimely death in 1988. On November 12, 1997, Jimmy Sabater became the recipient of an award from the City of New York for his contributions to the quality of life in the city, and in appreciation of his work since 1956. He was also the recipient of the Outstanding Musician of the Year award from the Comptroller of the City of New York, Mr. Alan G. Hevesi. In 1998, Mr. Sabater became the Lead Vocalist of the Latin Septet Son Boricua led by Maestro José Mangual Jr. Their first album, called Son Boricua, was the winner of the prestigious ACE Award as best new Latin release of that year. More success would follow Mr. Sabater with "Son Boricua". Then another two ACE Awards was awarded to "Son Boricua".

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