Singer and composer
FULL NAME: Víctor Manuel Avilés Rojas
DATE OF BIRTH: September 30, 1924
PLACE OF BIRTH: Barrio San Silvestre, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
DEATH: January 1, 2004 in Manhattan, New York (USA)
Víctor Manuel Avilés Rojas' artistic career, known to all as Vitín Avilés, included fruitful internships by several of the most celebrated orchestras of Afro-Argentine music, record collaborations with so many and successful stages as a soloist. This admired singer was described by the most demanding critics as a good rumbero as bolerista. Put in clear words, it is a versatile and unique style interpreter. In the opinion of many of his followers, his greatest merit was to have been selected by Xavier Cugat as lead singer of the album "Merengue by Cugat!" (CBS, DKC-10454), recorded in 1955, responding to the request of the then Dominican dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. This production continues to be considered the most successful, worldwide, in the history of merengue.
Ironically, the name of Vitín Avilés would reach full star chart after 1974, after more than 30 years of intense artistic work, during which he played prominently in about 40 albums of traditional Cuban music and salsa, accompanied by bands and stellar ensembles . That year he recorded the boleros album "Canta al amor" (Alegre, SALP-8676) that generated three hits: "I was more loyal" and "Why now?" (By Bobby Capó) and "Temes" (by Tite Curet Alonso). This production is considered a classic of the national discography.
Vitín Avilés was an intuitive musician. He never studied any song or instrument. He was born on September 30, 1924 in the neighborhood San Silvestre, Mayagüez. During his early youth, he worked as a barber who he learned from his father, while at the same time doing his work as an amateur in various programs of radio station WPRA in his native Mayagüez. By his privileged voice, he was pompously announced as "Mojiquita," a reminder with which it was intended to be compared to the acclaimed Mexican tenor José Mojica.
In 1943 he began his professional career when joining the Orchestra Hatuey, directed by the pianist William Manzano. With that organization, which also included Mon Rivera, was about a year. And, after several months in Orquesta Anacaona, of the Cuban pianist Abdías Villalonga, decided to settle in San Juan, in 1944
In the Capital City he quickly found accommodation in the emerging trumpeter orchestra Miguelito Miranda. It was accompanied by this band that, in 1947, recorded a disc for the first time. This plate (78 rpm) contained the guaracha "La televisión", in whose lyrics its authors, the Cuban Tony Fergo and Jose Carbó Menéndez, announced the arrival in Latin America of what would be considered "the invention of the century." A few months later, our biography decided to settle definitively in New York, which was then one of the most important places for Hispanic musicians.
In the Great Urbe he spent a twelve-year internship (1947-1959) with the famous Cuban orchestra Pupi Campo, also a singer. However, in the interim he collaborated in recordings with the Cuban Boys, Machito & His Afrocubans, directed by Enrique Madriguera, Moncho Usera, Tito Puente and Tito Rodríguez, as well as with Payo Alicea & Sexteto La Playa, the Marcano Quartet and, As we pointed out at the beginning, with the great band of Cugat.
Completed his cycle with Pupi Campo, this talented Puerto Rican was recruited by his compatriot Noro Morales, with whose orchestra he worked in many cities of the United States and Puerto Rico. From 1959 until the death of that virtuoso pianist, he acted permanently in the Hotel La Concha, in San Juan, although maintained its official residence in New York. Later, it was official vocalista of the batuteada by Usera (1964-1965); Directed his own combo and recorded as a soloist for Seeco and Musicor labels, as well as with Steve Hernández and Su Orquesta Latinoamericana (1970). During the period 1971-1975 - besides acting frequently in front of his group - he was habitual in the payroll of the band of Charlie Palmieri. With this one was credited three hits: the guarachas "The neighbor" and "The daughter of Lola" (originals of Raúl Marrero) and the bolero "Owner of my heart", Pepé Delgado
His best-selling album, "Canta el amor", directed by Tito Puente and Joe Cain, was followed by the title "El mensajero del amor" (ASLP-6004), edited by Alegre Records in 1975 and whose musical direction was delegated to The Argentine Horacio Malvicino. As a result of these releases, an old controversy was intensified based on the similarity of his style and his vocal tone with those of Tito Rodríguez. Who imitated whom? Such was the mystery that many admirers of both longed to unveil. But, in fact, no one ever tried to imitate the other. It was all coincidence. It is remembered that, in 1954, they shared the recording of a disc with four songs in 33 rpm. And when each one was alone, even the most fervent followers of both had difficulty in distinguishing between them. On the other hand, both Vitin and Tito, friends since very young, enjoyed the controversy that had arisen around them and never one accused the other of pretending to imitate it, although most of the collectors and connoisseurs would continue insisting that the characteristic of Shortening the length of the notes "letting them fall" and intoning semi-speaking the melodies, as well as the peculiar vocal timbre that guided the stardom to Tito Rodriguez were evidenced first in Vitín Avilés.
Unfortunately, the company Fania - which had acquired the Alegre catalog - did not follow up on the impact of those bolero productions that would have led this great singer to the final consecration. In addition, in New York, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and other important markets, radio limited the spread of romantic music to give way to the pop ballad, forcing it to concentrate on the salsa scene. In 1979 he recorded the album "Vitín Avilés with the Super Orquesta Venezuela" (Velvet, GS-3007) in Caracas, sharing the vocalizations with Nelson Pinedo and Nelson Alizo, the latter, also a pianist, arranger and director of the band. From the 1980s he would devote most of his musical activity to studio work, integrating choirs into recordings of other artists. With some regularity would appear in ballrooms accompanied by diverse sets.
Vitín Avilés contracted marriage with the lady Isabel González in 1983. Of its first marriage is fruit Víctor Manuel Jr. (Born 1944), who works as a mechanic for Norelco. He has another son, Christopher (born in 1979), who is adopted. Until 2000, he had recorded 50 albums as a star orchestral singer and soloist. His collaborations with other soloists and salsa groups integrating the choruses surpassed the hundred.
The Mayaguez artist who was known in the environment as "The Singer of Love" passed away the 1st. January 2004 at a Manhattan hospital in New York City.
Select Discography -
"Baile el cha-cha-té" - (Seeco / Tropical, TRLP-5012) 1957
"Great successes of Vitín Avilés" - (Seeco / Tropical, TRLP-5028) 1958
" Meringue ! By Cugat "- (Columbia)
"How are you?" With Noro Morales & Orquesta - (Tico) 1961
"Tito Rodríguez presents … Vitín Avilés" - (Musicor), 1964
"On the beach" (Seeco)
"The Giant of the Keyboard" with Charlie Palmieri & Orchestra - (Alegre) 1972
"The Giant Returns" "(1973)
"Forward, Giant" - (1975)
"Another time with love" - (Alegre) 1975
"Tico-Alegre All Stars Live at Carnegie Hall" (collective production) - (Tico), 1975
"The Singer of Love" (Alegre) 1976
"Sing to the love" (Alegre)
"With lots of sauce" - (Alegre) 1978
"Vitín Avilés with the Super Orchestra of Venezuela" (Velvet 3007) 1979
"Mr. Vitín Avilés (with a typical combo) "- (Tropical Budda, TBLP-001) 1984
"I have been born again" - (Disco Hit) 1997
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