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Pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer Norosbaldo “Noro” Morales Sanabia was one of the best pianists in Afro-Antillean Latin music of the 20th Century. Equally adept at playing hot up-tempo rhythmic mambos, guarachas, cha cha chas and the like, Noro Morales could also play slower, more romantic modes like bolero, tango and danzón. Although he didn’t feel confident playing jazz, his piano playing had an innate sense of swing and playfulness, and he was certainly adept at creating variations on a theme or improvising on a melody over rhythm, and was an orchestra leader of exceptional talent, making him what some called “The Duke Ellington of Latin Music.” He was extremely successful during the mid-point of his career, but health issues exacerbated by a lifestyle of alcohol abuse, gambling, overeating and chasing women took their toll, ending his life before he could really see his influence on the next generation during the salsa boom.

-Pablo Yglesias

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