After a long wait, we have managed to make the talented New York musician Nicholas Marrero, better known as Nicky Marrero, to come to the Spanish Harlem Salsa Museum to share with Johnny Cruz and his friendly staff on February 26th of this year. Therefore, we would like to take this opportunity to talk a little about his brilliant career and the great contributions he has made to Latin music in the United States.
Nicholas Marrero was born in the Bronx, New York, on June 17, 1950 and both his parents are Puerto Rican. This made the boy grow up among maracas, guitars, güiros and other instruments at home. In addition to the roots of his parents and the whole family, young Nicholas showed a talent that made him stand out very quickly and led him to study drums until his interests began to change and he started feeling drawn to the music made by Willie Bobo and ”The King of Timbales” Tito Puente. Both figures were arguably two of his greatest influences and inspirations in the world of music.
According to rumors in certain circles, his first recording was with Willie Colón’s band when he was only 15 years old, but the material was never released because of some alleged problems with the record label involved. The first albums with his participation as timbalero that were made public were ”El Malo” and ”The Hustler” by Willie Colón, both made in 1968. The usic productions were released in LP format in both cases.
Collaborations with Eddie Palmieri and others (título 3)
That same year, the growing artist began collaborating with Eddie Palmieri’s orchestra and had an important participation in the album ”Champagne”, which was released through the Tico Records label and whose repertoire includes songs such as ”Cinturita”, ”Palo De Mango” and ”Ay Que Rico”. Marrero contribute his talent to Palmieri’s on 15 more productions over the next 50 years that followed. Many of them were extremely successful and earned him the Latin Grammy Award on several occasions.
Another important step in his career was the replacement of Orestes Vilato as timbalero in the Fania All Stars, with whom he performed all kinds of activities in many countries such as tours, concerts, press releases, among other things. He played in 25 music productions for this important salsa and Caribbean music orchestra during the time that he was a member of the group.
Although the artist’s most outstanding collaborations have been with Eddie Palmieri and Fania All Stars, the timbalero has also collaborated with other great names in the world of salsa and Latin music such as Hector Lavoe, Louie Ramirez, Larry Harlow, Alfredo De La Fé, Ismael Miranda, Cheo Feliciano, Joe Quijano, Daniel Santos and many more.
Among the latest works in which Nicky participated is the album ”Full Circle” by Eddie Palmieri for the Ropeadope Records / Uprising Music label. The unmistakable sound of the musician is more than present with his characteristic bongos and timbalitos along with the unforgettable notes from the piano of maestro Palmieri, who has been more than a mentor since the artist started his prolific career.
Read also: Life and career of Ernie Acevedo
By Johnny Cruz, ISM Correspondents, New York, New York City