Jorge Luís MIllet was born in the picturesque Santurce, Puerto Rico, in March 1939; since he was young, he was interested in music, learning how to play the piano as self-taught, and then - with the help of musician friends - to study the solfeggio that allowed him to perfect and take on the basics for the next career of arranger and director conductor.
In 1964 he formed a small orchestra that dissolved in 1969; At that time, Jorge Millet was involved in graphic design at an advertising agency. In the late 1960s, the pianist worked with many orchestras on the Puerto Rican scene, but in the early 1970s - considered the brightest of salty history - the pianist decided to move to the United States to attend the Chicago Music College then expand his knowledge on harmony and orchestration.
Although the affection and admiration for the pianist are limited to a handful of musicians and to the most loyal and affectionate salsa fans, Jorge Millet has to be remembered as one of the most representative and melodic pianists and arranger in the history of the sauce. "Mr. Melody ", a well-known name, has always distinguished itself for its high aesthetic sense when arranging or orchestrating a song, always keeping in mind the typical sabor of Caribbean music and remaining always faithful to the salsero vigor, which are found in many of its aggressive and electrifying piano solos.
It was so important Jorge Millet's work that remarkable orchestras such as Frank Grillo's Afrocubans aka "Machito" entrusted to his hands and piano talent the responsibility of conducting some of their recording sessions.
However, the quality and professionalism of the master were not only made with these important formations, but also in many other small sizes, and still intended to make a name, so advanced by the talent of this great musician who seemed to have the special gift of discovering treasures hidden music in the immense scenario of the record industry.
To support and complete what has been said, I can bring the thought of Puerto Rican journalist Miguel López Ortiz back to "Mr. Melody ":" All the great artists, as well as the most fervent salsa fans, agree that Jorge Millet was one of the best orchestrators who had this music at its peak: the glowing 70s. His quality, under this role, made him worthy of recognition in New York, Venezuela, Peru, Panama and of course his native Puerto Rico. Here Farandula's magazine gave him the DIPLO Award as best arranger in 1976. He was also particularly proud of the Palma D'Oro that he received in Lima in January 1977, as this award was rewarded for his work as a composer. In summary, he was awarded as composer and arranger. "
Let me point out, dear readers, that prizes received as pianist and composer are a very important recognition as well as some of Jorge Millet's most important career steps.
Let's remember that in 1979, "La Maravilla" (Jorge Millet) was part of the staff of arranging the mighty orchestra of master Tito Puente, alongside other prominent figures of the likes of masters Marty Sheller, Luís Cruz, Edy Martínez (Pasto, Colombia) and Tito Puente himself in the album "Homenaje a Beny Vol. I", an album that thanks to its arranger made a Grammy to the Rey Del Timbal Tito Puente.
On the other hand, there were many compositions created by Jorge Millet, in an activity and constancy that filled him with enthusiasm and filled him with satisfaction; some of his creations are: "TAMBÓ", "ES TARDE" and "MR. WELCOME "recorded by Los Hijos del Rey.
VACILA Y GOZA "composed for the Universal Conjunto.
"LOS TAMBORES" for Puerto Rico All Stars.
"SONERO" and "TIBURÓN DE AGUA DULCE" sung by Marvin Santiago.
"ESA QUE YO CONOCÍ" recorded by Willie Rosario.
"MALQUERIDA" and "AS ESTARÉ CONTIGO" - With the Pedro Conga Orchestra.
"EN MIS ROSALES" and "HERENCIA RUMBERA", sharing with Angélica López the composition of these two tracks for the orchestra "Apollo Sound" by Roberto Roena.
Returning to Puerto Rico, enriched with theory and musical practice, he is hired by several authoritative salsa musicians who saw in the master's hand an invaluable value, a genius that would give fundamental contributions to each of their orchestras: figures of the likes of Rafael Cortijo, Tommy Olivencia, Willie Rosario, Roberto Roena, Ismael Miranda (among many) counted on La Maravilla's ability to create songs, play piano and direct orchestras.
In 1976, Jorge Millet was recruited as the musical producer of the label TH Records, the great Venezuelan company founded in Puerto Rico by the producing exemplar born in the Dominican republic but Puerto Rican adoption, José Francisco Torres Cruz, best known in the environment like Frank Torres.
With that label, the pianist has the opportunity to supervise and collaborate with an infinity of recordings of Puerto Rican parishioners in the same stable; Of that wave we remember, among others, Paquito Guzman, Orquesta La Solución, Andy Montanéz, Marvin Santiago.
Thanks to this bond there is a fact that I consider to be fundamental in the history of the sauce and that once again highlights the skills of the master Jorge Millet both on the artistic and the human level.
This happens in the late 1970s when "Mr Melody" rediscovers and re-launches "El Sonero Del Pueblo" Marvin Santiago, who at that time was virtually inert and out of range because of his serious addiction drug problems.
Here, Jorge Millet exhorts Marvin to continue his career and to propose himself as a soloist, presents him at TH Records, builds the band and creates the covers for the discs; In addition to the arrangements, Millet makes a few songs for Marvin, thus gaining the recovery of a Gran Sonero but above all of a Human Being.
The outstanding Colombian collector and promoter of Afro-Caribbean music, Gary Domínguez, commented in one of his important auditions this valuable fact in the history of the two musicians: "Between 1978 and 1979, when Santiago was virtually removed from the artistic milieu due to the drug addiction, one of the most interesting and respected musicians on the Island, Jorge Millet, "La Maravilla", turns his attention to the potential that was being wasted on Marvin and encourages him to present himself as a solo artist. Jorge Millet presents it to the TH label, makes the arrangements, logos, compositions and some "solos" of piano that would become classic subjects, not only of the repertoire of Santiago, but of the same sauce of Borinquen "; and Domínguez continues: "Millet saw in Marvin the possibility of" creating "a sonero of a people with great popular roots that could of itself become a character and an institution."
As Gary noted, our guest on these notes was one of the most recognized and respected musicians in both Puerto Rico and New York, and this was demonstrated in his extensive tour of bands and bands that appreciated the potential and immense talent of the teacher who corresponded to this affection with a musical and pictorial work of a strong artistic potential.
In our radio space "THE LANGUAGE OF SON", we set ourselves the task of making a compilation of orchestras, ensembles and combos in which the master Millet left his personal seal, both in piano and arrangements, as in the production and cover design; the result of this research is surprising, as we organized a list of 57 groups (including their production as a soloist baptized: "A Magic Dream", under the label TH Records), which may be more, but we consider that it is a high number which backs up everything said about "Mr. Melody ". These groups are:
* ORQUESTA LA CRIOLLA
* ORQUESTA LA CONQUISTADORA
* CONJUNTO UNIVERSAL
* CONJUNTO BORINCUBA
* ORQUESTA MUNDO
* ORQUESTA NATER
* CONJUNTO DE RAFAEL CORTIJO
* ORQUESTA LA COMPAÑÍA
* ORQUESTA DE MARVIN SANTIAGO
* PUERTO RICO ALL STARS
* ORQUESTA DE JUSTO BETANCUR
* ORQUESTA DE BOBBY VALENTÍN
* APOLO SOUND DE ROBERTO ROENA
* ORQUESTA HOMMY DE JESÚS CEPEDA
* LOS AFROCUBANOS DE MACHITO
* ORQUESTA LA SALSA MAYOR
* ORQUESTA DE ISMAEL MIRANDA
* ORQUESTA DE WILLIE ROSARIO
* ORQUESTA DE NACHO SANABRIA
* ORQUESTA DE LOUIE RAMÍREZ
* ORQUESTA DE JOE QUIJANO
* ORQUESTA DE RAFAEL “CHULETA” DE JESÚS
* ORQUESTA DE ROBERTO ANGLERÓ
* ORQUESTA DE “CHIVIRICO” DÁVILA
* ORQUESTA DE CHEO FELICIANO
* ORQUESTA LA SELECTA DE RAPHY LEAVIT
* ORQUESTA DE TITO PUENTE
* ORQUESTA DE PAQUITO GUZMÁN
* ORQUESTA DE RAFY DÍAZ
* ORQUESTA DE TOMMY OLIVENCIA
* ORQUESTA LOS KIMBOS
* ORQUESTA INTERNACIONAL DE PEDRO “CONGA” LÓPEZ
* ORQUESTA ROBERTO Y SU NUEVO MONTUNO
* ORQUESTA DE OSWALDO VALENTÍN
* ORQUESTA LA TRÓPICA
* ORQUESTA DE NELSON DE JESÚS
* ORQUESTA DE ADALBERTO SANTIAGO
* ORQUESTA DE JOHNY EL BRAVO
* ORQUESTA DE FAUSTO REY
* ORQUESTA DE LUIGUI TEXIDOR
* ORQUESTA BORINQUEN
* LOS HIJOS DEL REY
* GRABACIÓN DE TITE CURET ALONSO
* ORQUESTA MULENZE
* ORQUESTA DE RAY PÉREZ (Musicista portoricano)
* GRABACIONES DE MILLI QUEZADA
* CHAMACO RIVERA
* TABACO Y SUS METALES
* ORQUESTA DE LARRY HARLOW
* GRABACIONES DE DANNY RIVERA
* ORQUESTA LA GRANDE (DI PORTORICO)
* GRUPO BOMBAZZO DE SAMY AYALA
* ORQUESTA SALSA FEVER
* ORQUESTA DE TONY YANZ
* GRABACIONES DE JOSÉ NOGUERAS
According to the investigations the last work of Jorge Millet, were the arrangements for strings of the album "I will breathe" of the singer-songwriter Wilkins; this would be production No. 57. As has been repeated throughout history, most of the great characters and geniuses die young and "La Maravilla" was no exception; on 1 July 1981 in Santurce, the land that had only 42 years since he was born, died "Mr. Melody ", leaving for the history of salsa, a legacy that still awaits to be unveiled and presented to the new generations; an inheritance that has allowed us to enjoy and discover, to those who have been interested in it, all the majesty of … a WONDERFUL AND MELODIC GENIUS
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