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Ray Santos (1928 - 2019), Latin music legend

Getty Images / Wireimage / Isaac Brekken

Known as “El Maestro,” he arranged the theme song for “The Mambo Kings”

Ray Santos was a legendary Latin musician who arranged the theme song for the movie, “The Mambo Kings.” Known as “El Maestro,” the saxophonist started playing in Latin big bands at Catskill Mountain resorts in the 1950s. He worked with many known musicians including Tito Puente. Santos won a Grammy award for working with Linda Ronstadt on her 1992 album “Frenesi” and received the Latin Grammy Trustees Award in 2011. He also taught and directed the Latin band at the City College of New York for over 20 years.  

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Died: Thursday, October 17, 2019. (Who else died on October 17?) 

Details of death: Died at the age of 90. 


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What they said about him: “He just represented the quality, the insight and the dignity of a whole idiom. And by that idiom I don’t mean Afro-Latin music, I mean American music.” - Jazz at Lincoln Center 

Full obituary: New York Times  

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Laudir de Oliviera (1940 – 2017), pioneering Brazilian percussionist 

Celso Pina (1953 – 2019), legendary Mexican accordionist