José Feliciano, 3 July 1935, Ponce, Puerto Rico. Feliciano took an early interest in music, especially bolero, and when only eight years old he and some friends formed a group, El Combo Las Latas, in which he was a percussionist although all of their instruments were homemade. In his early teens he had some formal tuition in music but then, in 1952, his father moved to New York City to find work. Although Feliciano went to school in the city he was more interested in developing his musical life, and in particular the growing interest in salsa and coro. He hung around musicians of note, such as Machito, Frankie Malabe, Buyu Mangual, Luis Maquina, Tito Puente and Tito Rodríguez, listening and learning and meanwhile developing his skills as a conguero. He had also extended beyond percussion and was singing. He was given the opportunity of singing with Rodríguezs band at a gig and the band leader later recommended the young man to the...
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