Tommy Olivencia

Chris Coyne

Tommy Olivencia

Tommy Olivencia was the guiding light of the Puerto Rican salsa sound. His renowned orchestra, known as La Primerisima, served as the breeding ground for some of the best vocalist in the history of Latin music. World-renowned singers such as Paquito Guzman, Chamaco Ramirez and Gilberto Santarosa got their start with the Tommy Olivencia Orchestra. A virtuoso trumpet player and awe-inspiring bandleader, Tommy Olivencia is widely acknowledged as one of the undisputed pillars of Caribbean music.

Perhaps more than any other Puerto Rican bandleader, Tommy Olivencia understood the importance of adopting new musical trends, which in turn made the Primerisima sound adventurous and groundbreaking. Classic Tommy Olivencia cuts like “Sabroso” (Tasty) and “Soy Dichoso” (I’m Lucky) managed to encapsulate the manic energy of the Caribbean rhythms that overtook dance floors around the world. His biggest hit, the positive anthem of survival “Plante Bandera” (I Will Raise My Flag) remains one the most beloved Latin songs of all times and has been covered and embraced by new generations of artists. It’s been often said, that not a minute goes by without a Tommy Olivencia song being played somewhere throughout the world.

With a career that extended for over forty years, and a band that served as the de-facto School for Salsa for some of the biggest names in the history Latin music, Tommy Olivencia has deservedly earned his illustrious place among the giants of the Fania experience.

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