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Ricardo Ray


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Ricardo “Richie” Ray (born February 15, 1945) is a virtuoso pianist, singer, music arranger, composer and religious minister. He is known as “El Embajador del Piano” (The Piano Ambassador).
Early life
Ray (born “Ricardo Maldonado”) was born in Brooklyn, New York City of Puerto Rican parents. They lived in Hoyt Street. Ray’s father, Pacifico Maldonado, was an accomplished guitarist in his native Bayamón, and as such was the Maldonado family’s early musical influence.

Ray’s parents had him take lessons and he started to play the piano when he was only seven years old. His life-long partnership with Bobby Cruz started five years later in 1957 when Ray played bass in a group led by Cruz. This combination was the beginning of one the greatest salsa duos in the salsa music industry.
He attended the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, the famed High School of Performing Arts, and the Juilliard School of Music. This experience served to further develop and refine his musical training. In addition, he became well versed in various Latin music genres which were popular at that time the Guajira, the Cha-cha-cha, the Bolero and others.
Musical career
Ray left Juilliard in 1963, after just one year. He made this choice so that he could get organized and dedicate himself to his own band. This was a year after Cruz joined in as the lead vocalist. In 1964, he signed with Fonseca Records and released his debut album, Ricardo Ray Arrives-Comején. The album included the outstanding hit songs “Mambo Jazz”, “Comején”, “Viva Richie Ray”, “El Mulato”, “Suavito”, “Pa’ Chismoso Tú” and the bolero-cha “Si Te Contaran”.


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