The Spaha Salsa Gallery Museum has been the recipient of a good number of objects donated by artists and their families after they had died. This time, it is the turn of Jerry Louis Díaz Rivas, better known as Jerry Rivas in the music scene, who is one of the main singers of El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico.
We want to use his pleasant visit to our museum and his forty-sixth anniversary with El Gran Combo to talk a little about his great career and everything achieved in his long musical career over the past decades.
Life and career of Jerry Rivas
Jerry Diaz was born in the city of Tampa, United States, on August 25, 1955 and his parents were of Puerto Rican origin, so it is undeniable that Puerto Rican heritage greatly influenced the path he would take later on.
About five years later, Jerry and his family moved to the city of Bayamón, Puerto Rico, where he began to take his first steps in the world of music with the guitar, the Puerto Rican cuatro and the Cuban tres, counting on the support of professor Carlos Seguí to learn to play the latter. However, shortly after, he would decide that singing was his thing.
While still a young teenager, he was part of various groups such as Grupo Complicación, Conjunto Cojoba and Grupo Chaney, being in all cases a very important part of the body of musicians who were in these bands.
His big great came in 1976 when Don Rafael Ithier, who was interested in the artist to be part of El Gran Combo De Puerto Rico, after he was recommended by Don Quique Lucca, who thought of this boy as replacement of the legendary Andy Montañez, singer of the group for more than 14 years.
Although it was not believed that Jerry could fill the shoes of his predecessor, his talent, effort and support from the music director of the orchestra, made him consolidate in the institution along with the rest of his colleagues and become one of the longest-serving members of El Gran Combo.
International fame came with the album ”El Gran Combo En Las Vegas” thanks to the song ”La Clave”, in which he proved his vocal abilities to new levels. After that, he achieved his consecration as an international star with the album ”Happy Days” thanks to the song ”El Menú”.
After that, everything that followed for Jerry was success with the orchestra, which resulted in approximately 30 recordings in a span of 45 years with El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, his musicians and the extraordinary team behind the group.
Other details of his life and support to the Salsa Museum
In addition to being a vocalist for El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Jerry also participated in backing vocals with other great musicians for their respective musical works such as Willie Rosario, Bobby Valentín, Yuri Buenaventura, Gilberto Santa Rosa, La Sonora Ponceña, Adalberto Santiago and many others.
In each of these projects, the Puerto Rican artist has always given his personal touch and his unmistakable vocal chords, so it is normal that he is considered a legendary voice within the salsa movement not only in his country, but also worldwide.
Due to all of the above, it is a true honor for the Spaha Salsa Gallery Museum to receive this great musical luminary in its facilities, where he was welcomed by its president and founder, Mr. Johnny Cruz.
Some photos on the Cruz’s official Facebook page, it is evident that both shared a very pleasant time remembering things from the past and talking about music. In addition, Jerry donated one of his shirts and a Cuban tres to the museum so that they can be exhibited to the public along with the rest of the objects in its collection.
We thank Jerry for his kindness, generosity and great talent, which we hope will continue to accompany us in the years to come.