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Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros

AP Photo / Kathy Willens, File

Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros

The Cuban trumpet legend Alfredo “Chocolate” Armenteros, known as the “Cuban Louis Armstrong,” died on January 6th at the age of 87.

He started out in his native Cuba playing with Arsenio Rodríguez and then forming a band with his cousin Benny Moré. He later moved permanently to East Harlem in New York City and was a pioneer of the Salsa sound.

“I want to be remembered as the trumpet player who played the longest and who had the best time doing it,” Armenteros told a writer for Colombia’s El Tiempo in a 2008 interview.


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Armenteros performed with many top artists including Nat King Cole, Tito Puente and Wynton Marsalis. His trumpet playing was featured in the movie “Lost City”.

His nickname came about when a girl thought he was the Cuban boxer Kid Chocolate. He was married eight times, and had nine children, one son and eight daughters, six of whom live in Cuba.  

He often liked to say his real love was his trumpet.

“It’s my girlfriend, it’s my soul, my life, my heart,” he said in a 2013 interview with the Associated Press.

His life and music is to be celebrated at a memorial on April 4, 2016, on what would’ve been his 88th birthday, according to Zon del Barrio leader Aurora Flores.

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