#116 Eddie Montalvo- Conguero for Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon, Ruben Blades Y Seis Del Solar and More!
This week’s guest is Eddie Montalvo. He was born and raised in the Bronx near the streets of Trinity and 158th. Eddie started by going to the parks as a young kid seeing and visiting the music life and playing with small salsa teenager bands as a kid. Every chance he got, Eddie would play in the park without holding back. Eddie started out with a pair of beat up bongos at the age of five. Soon, he began to play the congas when his friend played the bongos in the same band. Eddie first played with a man named Julio Romero and the Latin Jazz all Stars. From there he played with two or three bands a night professionally. He played with famous artists such as The Great Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon, Johnny Pacheco, Los Kimbos, Celia Cruz and many other famous artists. He later became a member of the Fania All Stars in 1979, one of the youngest members to be apart of the Fania.
In 1995 he hit a new stage in his life. Eddie made his first new CD Titled Own My Own. He wrote songs like Se busca un Amor, Amarrado A Tu falda, Vamos adejarlo, and he had a hit on the radio station called Enamorado. Eddie has traveled the world such as Cuba, Europe, and Central America with Hector Lavoe. He received a proclamation from the city of New York. Eddie received this award for giving an outstanding contribution to the culture life of our Community. Eddie has known many musicians in the Latin scene such as Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Cheo Feliciano, Bobby Valentin, Papo lucca, Roberto Roena, Gilberto Santa-rosa, Nicky Marrero, Gilbert Colon, Ismael Miranda, Johnny Pacheco and many other famous musicians. This is Eddie with Hector Lavoe’s band in Venezuela. Eddie started to play with Hector Lavoe in 1978. He played in many countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, and Puerto Rico where Hector was born. Eddie played with Hector for six years. One year later the Fania All Stars called Eddie Montalvo to become a member. This was in 1979, Eddie performed first time with the Fania in Venezuela. He took over the job of his idol, Ray Barretto. He soon became known as the “Timekeeper”. He played with Ruben Blades band for Twelve years. Eddie traveled with Ruben Blades to Europe, Panama and many other countries. Eddie is on many albums such as Ruben Blades y Son Del Solar Live, Buscando America, Amor y Control, y Esecenas y Siembra. Eddie has played in many songs such as Pedro Navaja,Cuentas Del Alma, Silencios, Buscando America, Desapariciones, Decisiones, and Todos Vuelven. Eddie soon became apart of Tito Nieves Band. Eddie played with the Tito Nieves band for three years. Eddie played in many functions with Tito Nieves and soon after he played with the Frankie Morales orchestra. He has been playing for five years with the Frankie Morales Band and is still with them today. This is Eddie playing with the Frankie Morales orchestra performing at the blue note jazz club in New York City. Today, Eddie Montalvo is a great musician. His style of playing has influenced many others throughout his life and throughout the world in the music industry. Eddie is also playing with the Big 3 Palladium Orchestra which consist of the sons of the legendary masters Machito, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez. they are carrying out the sounds of there fathers. Eddie also participated in an album called The Big 3 Palladium live at the blue note in New York City. He was also called for the movie El Cantante starring Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. He was a big influence in the movie and called upon many a times to do a few scenes which the movie will be coming out at the end of the 2006. He also recorded in the sound track with Paul Simon for the musical called Cape Man.
Special Happy Birthday shout-out to the great Roy Haynes who turned 94 on March 13th.
Roy is also featured as this week’s iconic recording, “Now He Sings, Now He Sobs” by fellow Bostonian, Chick Corea. Honorable mention goes to John Coltrane at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1963 playing “My Favorite Things”.
This week’s educational spotlight……
It is important to keep growing and learning, so this week’s article is about how to continue to take music lessons whenever and wherever it works best for you. This article was inspired by Damon taking a consultation with Brian Frasier-Moore as part of his BFM Consultation service. Step one, get your hands on an instrument so you can practice. Step two, there are apps you can use (more on this later). Step three, checking out video lessons like: Conga Chops, World Drum Lessons, My Music Masterclass, or YouTube tutorials. Step four, finding a teacher for in person lessons. Step five, “going back to school” by taking an online course or two. Berklee Online is the one we mentioned, but there are others out there with a simple Google search. As far as the apps we think you should check out, there are a half dozen in this MODERN DRUMMER ARTICLE, as well as, iReal Pro, The Clave app, Drum Jam app, Percussion Tutor app, Peter Erskine Essentials apps, The Harmony Cloud app, Tempo Slo Mo app, Steve Reich’s Clapping Music app, Drum Guru app, Groove Freedom app, and lastly, a good metronome! Shout-out to Greg Packham for helping to teach the Torres family.
Music News for this week…….
Scientists discover a strange shape that blocks almost all sound that can be used in sound proofing and studio audio reinforcement. To Convince Songwriters, Spotify Has Reportedly Planned Town Hall Meetings in LA and Nashville. As of last year, this is what streaming services pay the artists. Ticketmaster Dodges a Bullet In Its ‘Scalpergate’ Class Action Lawsuit. This article explains what Damon was hinting at with Live Nation. Federal Judge Rules: Coachella’s ‘Radius Clause’ Is Completely Legal and doesn’t violate any laws.
Eddie started his percussion career on cracker cans and moved up to carrying his congas up and down flights of stairs on the subway in green army duffel bags. Hector “Bucky” Andrales was one of the first people to give Eddie some help in his conga tutelage. You can see (and hear) “Bucky” on the Willie Colon album, “The Hustler”. He is all the way on the right in the album picture.
When Eddie was playing with Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez, he got an offer to play with Hector Lavoe.
After Eddie turns down the gig with Pete, he accepts the gig with Hector and the first gig booked is Hector Lavoe and Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez together. This is also where Eddie starts to learn how to sing coro.
In 1979 the Fania All Stars did a cultural exchange with Cuba. Here is some of that footage…..
And here is when they went back in 1981……
Jaco Pastorious was bi-polar and almost got into a fight with Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez.
Fast forward to the Siembra album in 1978 Ruben Blades started working with Willie Colon. That was how Eddie started his relationship with Ruben. In 1983 the first Seis Del Solar group was formed and Ruben and Co. started a new path in the salsa world.
You can listen to “that thing” Eddie does on the Fania All-Stars recording of “Bilongo” with Ismael Rivera that Jimmy Morales mentions.
In between playing gigs and touring the world, Eddie managed to also hold down a job with Con Edison for over 35 years.
This is the trailer for the movie Safe House. And one of the scenes Eddie was in for the movie “El Cantante” can be seen below…..
And this is the scene Eddie talks about being at the bar with Marc Anthony.
Eddie Montalvo has a signature series line of congas by Latin Percussion.
The album with the NY Philharmonic string section is called “Solo” by Willie Colon.
The song leading out of the interview is “Popeye El Marino” by Adalberto Santiago.