San Juan.- The Puerto Rican percussionist Jimmie Morales, who was the conguero of the orchestra of his compatriot Gilberto Santa Rosa for 33 years and recorded more than 175 albums with artists such as Juan Luis Guerra, Willie Colón, and Oscar D ‘León, died this Tuesday.

Morales died at home surrounded by his wife, Noemí, and their daughter, Amanda, a relative said on Facebook.

After the news, various Puerto Rican artists mourned the death with messages they posted on their social networks.

«40 years of friendship, 40 years of music is the balance of the short but fruitful life of my dear Jimmie Morales. The surprise departure of this special being breaks my heart.

I’m going to miss you, Brother… Rest in Peace ”, expressed Santa Rosa.
For his part, Charlie Aponte, a former member of the El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico orchestra, expressed being stunned by the news.

“I can’t believe it, it’s strong to accept it. This is a nightmare, many of our music colleagues have left us. The last time we shared with Jimmy was on Wednesday, January 13 at Rolo’s studio where my most recent single ‘Brazos Abiertas’ was recorded ”, Aponte said.

“Our deepest condolences to the family. The world of salsa music is not going to be the same without him. We will miss him, not only as a musician but as a person, as a friend, brother, and his gift as people. I never thought that today I would be writing this message. Fly high @jimmiemorales “, added Aponte.

Morales, born in Connecticut (USA), began to be interested in music as a child he listened to groups such as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, as he told Efe in an interview in 2008.

However, when he was 10 years old, his family decided to move to Puerto Rico, where he heard the first rumble of the legendary timpanist of Puerto Rican origin Tito Puente (1923-2000), and fell in love with the sound of the timpani.

Morales’ first steps in music were when a neighbor named Rubén Beltrán allowed him to play congas at home.

Due to his fascination with making the barrel skins rumble, Morales’s father bought him a conga, because “that is how he practiced at home and didn’t have to bother his neighbor,” he said.

At 16, he joined a youth group called La Justicia, with which he got his first pay after playing at a party – $ 15.

From that moment on, Morales knew that music would be the passion of his life, although he never took a formal percussion class.

Morales continued to delight in the music of the renowned timpanists Milton Cardona, Eddie Montalvo, Carlos “Patato” Valdés, Cándido Camero, Mongo Santamaría, Johnny Rodríguez and Ray Barreto.

Until he was called to join the Tito Allen orchestra and then he joined the Willie Rosario group, with which he spent eight years, until in 1987 he decided to accompany Santa Rosa.

Other productions in which Morales demonstrated his skills in congas were with Eddie Santiago, Ismael Miranda, Santos Colón, Tito Rojas, Tito Nieves, Álvaro Torres, Lalo Rodríguez, Grupo Niche, Grupo Manía and Lunna.

Morales also recorded on one of the first albums of the late rap group 3-2 Get Funky, a pioneer of the urban genre.

Even the percussion instrument company REMO for time-released two different colored conga models with its name and together with the company, it made its way around the world, offering workshops in the United States, South America, and China.

Coincidentally, several weeks ago Morales published his biography, “Un conguero para la Historia- The memories of Jimmie Morales,” written by Bella Martínez.

Amelia Warner– After graduating from NYU with a master's degree in history, She was also a columnist for many local newspapers. Amelia Warner mostly covers Entertainment topics, but at times loves to write about movie reviews as well.

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