This will be a very special edition because we are going to talk about one of the most transcendental figures of Latin music of his time. We are talking about bandleader and percussionist Ernie Acevedo, who has been one of the greatest pillars of the Latin music movement in the United States from the very moment he decided to explore this highly competitive area of arts.
Ernest ”Ernie” Acevedo was born in New York City and his parents were two Puerto Ricans who were making their living in the United States. His family had deep musical roots, which may be why the young man to devote his life to this wonderful world. This artistic side of the family comes especially from his uncles who played Christian music, with the exception of Jason Youvert. The latter played bass for a few groups throughout his career and one of them was Ray Rodriguez & Duro.
While still very young, little Ernie showed signs of getting great skills with percussion, which made his father decide to take him to play with him and even become a kind of manager for his son and many other young boys with dreams of being artists who entertained parties and celebrations of all kinds in the neighborhood where they lived. This group of boys was called Orquesta Combinación Latina, but it was not long before it would be renamed Sonora Amantes and would have an alignment of instruments totally different from the previous one.
Given that Ernie was always sure of following this path, he chose to prepare as best as possible for it, so he studied at Johnny Colon School and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, which contributed enormously to the learing of the musician and would serve him well for what he did next.
The great beginning of the percussionist’s career was given in the 1970s thanks to his collaboration with the famous bongo player Ralphy Santi, a union that represented a giant leap in the carrer of Ernie. After that, there was an endless list of artists who wanted to work with him such as Héctor Lavoe, Johnny Pacheco, Oscar D’ León, Pete ”El Conde” Rodríguez, Larry Harlow, Daniel Santos, Héctor Casanova and many more.
All of this would be the prelude to the creation of Conjunto Imagen, a group that would be of key importance in the good name of Acevedo as an artist.
In the year 2021, El Conjunto Imagen was founded on May 21, 1989, starting a legacy impossible to omit in the history of Afro-Caribbean music in the United States, Latin America and the Antilles. The main members of the group were coordinating and agreeing for a while to crystallize this idea that was running through their heads for a long time. Among them were Ernie Acevedo, Jose ”Junior” Rivera, Luis Hernandez, Angelo Gonzalez and many others.
These childhood friends always were clear that they wanted to create a highly successful musical group and go that succeed. In the year 2021, they celebrated their 30th anniversary with their 14th record production entitled ”Los Rumberos”, with which this group proved once more they are one of the most talented Latin groups despite the passage of time. This musical work has great names in the industry such as Juan ”Tiny” Colón in the arrangements, Toby Rivera, Guillermo ”El Pulpo” Colón Jr. and Miguel ”El Zurdo” Rodríguez. Luis Arona Junior Rivera, among others.
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By Johnny Cruz, ISM Correspondents, New York, New York City