For each of us in life there are those who, while not our parents, certainly are parents in some sense. My musical father was also a man who’s band I played in for 25 years. I had the good fortune of working with a musician who was not only a world class performer but also a seminal influence in his genre. If you have ever danced to a salsa band or tapped your foot to an infectious latin beat, chances are that you were listening to a performer who he influenced.
In the right-hand column of this blog there’s a heading “Music We Listen To” and a link–to Manny Oquendo & Libre. Manny died of a massive heart attack on March 25. I have a lifetime of memories to cherish from our experiences over the past 25 years. Manny hired me in 1984, and heard something that he liked. I heard something that motivated me to play better and more and we shared a connection that far surpasses words. I encourage you to spend a moment and enjoy some little bit of our music.
The New York Times finally published an obituary on Manny’s death on April 13. You can read it here.
Many of Manny’s performances have been preserved on video and posted on YouTube.