The band inludes Ricardo Ray on piano and arrangements, Bobby Cruz on vocals, coro, arrangements, Miki Vimari on vocals and coro, Ismael Cocolia Rodriguez and Ismael Rivera on trumpet, Manolito Gonzales bongos and percussion, Jose Hidalgo on conga. Charlie ‘El Pirata’ Cotto on timbales and Plito Huertas is on bass.
Richie Ray currently lives in Florida. He was a member of the famed Fania All Stars. He was born in Brooklyn, NY, in February of 1945. His brother is respected trumpeter, Ray Maldonado. Bobby Cruz was born in Hormigueros, Puerto Rico, in February 1937
One of this dynamic duo’s most exciting recordings, Felices Pascuas has all the elements that made “Sonido Bestial” such a resounding success. “Bomba en Navidad” is a joyful tune; Bobby Cruz’s rendition of “Mi Niñez,” the classic by composer Joan Manuel Serrat, is one of the most shattering ever; a crushing statement on the effects of father time and a lost childhood. The peerless Miki Vimari is enchanting in “Aguinaldo Navideño,” and there are moments of solemnity on “Kyrie Eleison” and “Symphonia to Cantata No. 29.” Like their preceding effort, this remains an unqualified classic, unblemished with time and always present for continuous enjoyment. An absolute must-have for salsa fans. —Bobby Marin