Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music



(b January 1948, El Barrio [Spanish Harlem], NYC) Salsa bandleader, master percussionist (primarily bongo and campana), producer, singer (lead and coro [chorus]), composer; his mid-'80s to mid-'90s productions have been particularly popular in Colombia and in émigré Colombian communities. Member of one of the most accomplished Latin music families: first son of José Mangual Sr 'Buyú' (b José Luis Mangual, 18 March 1924, Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico; relocated to NYC '33; Machito's esteemed percussionist '42-59; played with Herbie Mann, Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Erroll Garner, others); brother Luis plays bongo, campana and conga and has recorded with Héctor Rivera, Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz, Santiago Ceron, Charlie Rodríguez, others, as well as with José Jr.

He began performing with small typical groups in El Barrio; from '63 he played with Monguito for a few years. He was a member of Willie Colón's band '69-74 and Héctor Lavoe's band '74-9 (also co-leader of the latter), where he and Milton Cardona (conguero/coro singer; b 21 November, Mayagüez, Puerto Rico; d 19 September 2014, NYC) developed an association as coro vocalists and percussionists, sessioning widely together. (Besides performing on many of Mangual Jr's productions, Cardona, an ordained priest in the Afro-Cuban santería religion, has recorded and toured with his ensemble Eya Aranla [LP Bembé '86 on American Clavé], Colón, Lavoe, Jerry González and the Fort Apache Band, Dave Valentín, David Byrne, Kip Hanrahan, Papo Vásquez, numerous others.) While still with Lavoe, Mangual Jr. made his recording debut as leader and lead singer on the album Tribute To Chano Pozo '77 (reissued '89) on his own True Ventures label, which became a classic; the late José Febles played trumpet, arranged and co-directed. Signed with Venezuelan Velvet label for Pa' Bailar y Gozar '79, with two tracks each arranged by Héctor Rivera and José Madera (percussionist son of Machito band founder member José 'Pin' Madera [tenor saxophonist]; himself a Machito sideman '69-72, then with Tito Puente from '72) and Mangual '80 (Madera wrote one chart and played vibes; Febles played trumpet and arranged one track). Formed Campanero Productions Inc. '80, under whose imprint he produced Time Will Tell/Que Lo Diga El Tiempo '81 (including the magnificent 'Mil Amores' and self-penned mainly instrumental title track, both arranged by Madera), Sonero Con Clase '82 for Velvet with his band backing Panamanian singer Carlos 'El Grande' Ferrer (Madera handled music direction and arranged four tracks) and Que Chevere '82 (including self-penned 'Campana Mayoral' arranged by Madera, who did most of the music direction). Produced singer Junior González's Gracias '83, containing the superb 'Hechando Pa'Lante', and own Al Fin y Al Cabo '84, both on 7th Galaxy. Teamed up with dad and Luis as Los Mangual on Una Dinastia '86 on Caimán; '90s hit-maker Sergio George wrote most of the arrangements and played piano. He produced and performed on a trio of albums on Caballo '86-7: Junior González's Sabor y Sentimiento; Con Sabor a Pueblo by Peruvian sonero Melcochita, including the hit 'Pegaso' arranged by pianist Alfredo Valdés Jr; and Sarabanda (co-produced by music director Isidro Infante; recorded in Houston TX) including 'Barranquillero Arrebatao' composed by Victor Raúl Sánchez 'Patillas' and arranged by Infante.

Mangual produced and performed on four albums on Tibiri '87-8: Orlando Watusi's Echale ... Watusi!, Melcochita's El Muerto Se Fué De Rumba, including the hit 'Kamaguey' written by executive director Diego Flórez and arranged by Mangual Jr, and all-star Salsa Ritmo Caliente; he and Infante featured in the band backing Melcochita in Paris September '88. Produced and performed on Junior González's Mas Romántico Que Nadie '89 on Mercury/Polygram Latino and follow-ups A Golpe de Marea by Sarabanda, including the eponymous hit arranged by Infante (who shared piano and arranging chores with George) and Salsa Ritmo Caliente Vol. 2, both on Kañaveral '91. Played percussion and sang coro on Melcochita's popular albums Libertad '93 and Mi Son Sabroson '96, both produced by Infante on Levesque; co-produced and performed on Miles Peña's debut De Que Me Vale '93 on Sonero/RMM; produced and performed on Sarabanda's No Se Tu '94 on Platano; co-directed and played on the Ismael Miranda/Junior González collaboration Cantar O No Cantar '95 on Asefra. Nearly 20 years after the first volume he issued Tribute To Chano Pozo Vol. II '95 on MC; Cueto directed the recording, arranged the exciting opening track 'Campana Titiko' (penned by Mangual Jr, who wrote most of the album) and shared piano chores with Infante, who arranged two songs; Madera contributed two charts. Played percussion and sang new version of 'Mil Amores' (arranged by Cueto) on Gozando! '96 on Asefra by Mascara Salsera's Gold Stars featuring lead vocalists Pete 'El Conde' Rodríguez, Junior González, Melcochita, Ray de la Paz and Carlos Santos; Cueto handled music direction, played piano, produced and arranged two other tracks. Sessioned with numerous salsa names including Celia Cruz, Rubén Blades, Johnny Pacheco, Ernie Agosto, Santiago Ceron, Louie Ramírez, Raúl Marrero, Johnny Zamot and Ray Sepulveda and Fernando Resto. Recommended compilation Mis Mejores Exitos '94 on Exclusivo collects '77-87 True Ventures, Campanero and Caballo recordings.