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Muñoz, Rafael

Famous Puerto Rican big band director and bass player, Rafael Muñoz was prominent in the Latin-American and Puerto Rican music scene from the 1930’s.

Perhaps best known as band leader of the “Orquesta del Escambron Beach Club”, venue for dancing where many of the most talented artists of the era appeared, but also a talented contra-bass player. The band is pictured here in 1934 during their heyday, with Muñoz in the rear, next to pianist Noro Morales. His orchestra also featured the vocals of compatriot, the also famous José Luis Moneró.

The band was highly regarded for their boleros of such notable songwriters as Rafael Hernandez, Arturo Somohano and Sylvia Rexach. Of course the orchestra played other popular dance music genres to the delight of their many fans.

Muñoz made many recordings with his orchestra on the available media of the day, including 78 RPM and LP albums that are difficult to find, collector’s items today. Two of his albums were released by BMG Records in the late 1960’s: Borinquen and Rafael Muñoz y Su Orquesta. Recent CD re-releases of his works were made by Harlequin which published Rafael Muñoz: 1938-43 in 1987. The compilation featured some of the typical songs that made Muñoz and his orchestra famous, such as Ensueño. That compilation was followed the next year with the release of three additional CD’s: Rafael Muñoz, Vol 2, Vol 3 and Vol 4.

Muñoz’ popularity, however, was not limited solely to his talents as bandleader, or even bass player. He was also adept with the violin as he demonstrated on the latin jazz “Charanga!” album released in 1960 by Charlie Palmieri, and other instruments.

Muñoz also collaborated with many other popular artists thrughout his long and successful career, including such luminaries as “La Voz”, Daniel Santos.

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Discography

Rafael Munoz y Su Orquesta (2003)

Rafael Muñoz, Vol. 4 (1999)

Rafael Muñoz, Vol. 3 (1998)

Rafael Muñoz, Vol. 2 (1998)

1938-1943 (1997)

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