Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music


MARÍN, Orlando

(b 1934, Bronx, NYC, of Puerto Rican parentage) Timbalero, composer, singer; prominent '60s Latin bandleader, nicknamed 'Ollie'. Childhood friends incl. Sabú Martínez, Charlie and Eddie Palmieri, Héctor Rivera, Joe Quijano; attended High School of Industrial Arts where he heard mambos during lunch breaks. Tutored by percussionist Mike Collazo and timbalero Joe Rodríguez; gigged with Charlie '51 and was encouraged by Joe Cuba '52, turning pro with guitar trio Coco. Briefly with Palmieri's uncle's band Chino y sus Almas Tropicales, he then co-founded a group with 15-year-old Eddie including Quijano, assuming leadership when Eddie left to join Johnny Seguí '55; performed at the famed Palladium Ballroom 'Home of the Mambo'. Made two LPs on Fiesta '56-8 incl. Arriba! -- Cha Cha Chá With Monchito, Marín, Marquez. Drafted into US Army '58-60, discharged as charanga/pachanga craze was getting under way, he formed his 'Chua Chua Group', a Latin jazz septet incl. Paquito Pastor, an NYC-born pianist and arranger who has also worked with Arsenio Rodríguez, Willie Rosario, Quijano, Joey Pastrana, Orquesta Panamericana (in PR), Puente, Héctor Casanova, Santiago Ceron, José Fajardo. The septet also included flautist Bobby Nelson, vocalists Victor Velázquez and Tito Jiménez (aka Tito Jay, percussionist and composer). Marín met Al Santiago when he left an autographed photo for display at Santiago's Casalegre Record Store; Santiago eventually signed him to Alegre. Another Alegre bandleader, Charlie Palmieri, was keen to record Jiménez's composition 'La Casa', but Marín protested and the song (on his Alegre debut album Se Te Quemo La Casa '62, reissued '92) was his biggest hit. Chivirico Dávila (1924-94) provided lead vocals and wrote six tracks; Marín's four-trumpet conjunto incl. Pastor, bassist Julio Andino (played in Machito, Noro Morales and Miguelito Valdés orchestras), singer Willie Torres in the chorus. Chivirico shared vocals with Torres, Cheo Feliciano and Elliot Romero on Marín's Alegre follow-up Que Chevere Vol. II '64, which featured Alfredo 'Chocolate' Armenteros on first trumpet and solos.

Marín participated in the Alegre All-Stars' mid-'60s descarga set Vol. 4 'Way Out', contributing a timbales solo to the band's version of the Chano Pozo/Dizzy Gillespie standard 'Manteca'; he also played on the Cesta All-Stars albums. Returned to Fiesta for the top ten LP Esta En Algo '67, with Cuban sonero Justo Betancourt; signed with Brunswick '67, and Out Of My Mind was produced by long-time Latin jazz promoter Jack Hooke (d 13 November 1999 aged 83), later co-producer with RMM's Latin jazz division Tropijazz (founded '92) and director of the Tropijazz Talent Agency ('94); but the album was not released until '70: Marín wanted to continue in the típico vein while the label expected a Mongo Santamaría-type Latin fusion sound; when he threatened legal action it was released but not promoted. He returned with Saxofobia Vol. 1 '71 on Santiago's newly-formed Mañana label (remixed version included on Saxofobia Plus '93 on Mucho), his band 'La Saxofónica' having a unique front line of five saxes, rhythm section and voices: the album conceived and produced by Santiago with piano chores shared by Charlie and Pastor flopped due to music politics suppressing its airplay. His '90s day job is with a US government poverty agency helping people with living skills. He frequently performs with piano, bass and rhythm; he organized a four-trumpet conjunto including Chivirico for a tour of Colombia '93, first gig there had an audience of 12,000; he and Chivirico performed with the Partially New Alegre All-Stars reunion concert in the Bronx mid-'94.