The Spanish influence on the music of the Caribbean is reflected in the sound of Puerto Rican vocalist Andy Montañez. Singing in a plaintive, high nasal tone, Montañez continues to expand on the musical traditions that originated among Hispanic farmers in the hills of Puerto Rico. Initially attracting attention as lead singer of El Gran Combo in 1961, Montañez remained with the group for 15 years. Accepting an invitation to become co-leader of a Venezuela-based band, Dimensi'n Latina, in 1977, he left after three years to pursue a solo career. His band retains the instrumental lineup of El Gran Combo: two trumpets, two saxophones, bass, piano, and Latin percussion including conga, bongos, timbales, cowbell, and maracas. His latest release, Salsa con Reggaetón arrived in 2006. ~ Craig Harris
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