- Jonas Westover
(b Hormigueros, PR, Feb 1, 1937). Puerto Rican salsa singer, composer, and minister. When he was very young, he moved with his family to New York, where he discovered the music of El Gran Combo, whose salsa music proved influential. After meeting the bandleader Richie Ray in 1964, Cruz began working with Ray’s band as a backup singer but soon began singing lead on such songs as “Mr. Trumpet Man” (1966). Their partnership quickly turned into one of the most popular and enduring salsa groups in Latin music history, and between 1964 and 1974 the two released at least nine recordings that reached gold status, including the songs “Agúzate,” “Sonido bestial,” and “Mi bandera.” Cruz and Ray’s trumpet-heavy music has spawned a number of imitators, and Cruz’s vocal range has been a standard by which many vocalists have been measured. Their most influential hit was “Juan en la ciudad” (...