Adalberto Santiago is a salsa singer.
He was born in Barrio Pozas in Ciales, Puerto Rico. Adalberto's relaxed and flawless lead vocals are among the best in so-called salsa, and for over two decades he has sessioned as a coro (chorus) singer on countless New York recordings. His early influences included the great Cuban vocalists Beny Moré and Miguelito Cuní (b. 8 May 1920, Pinar del Río, Cuba, d. 5 March 1984, Havana, Cuba). Santiago started his professional career singing with trios and playing bass and guitar. After stints with the bands of Chuíto Vélez, Willie Rodríguez and Willie Rosario, his career really took off when he joined Ray Barretto's band. Between 1966 and 1972, Adalberto made seven studio albums with Ray Barretto. In late 1972, Adalberto and four other members of Barretto's band departed to found Típica 73. He appeared on three of their albums before disagreement over musical direction led him, and three other band members, to split during the mid-70s to form Los Kimbos. Meanwhile, Santiago sang lead vocals on two critically acclaimed charanga albums, Fantasía Africana/African Fantasy and Our Heritage - Nuestra Herencia, by flautist, composer and producer Lou Pérez.
Los Kimbos were reputed to be a tough working band and had a sound reminiscent of both the pre-split Ray Barretto band and Tipica 73. With them, Adalberto recorded 1976's Los Kimbos and The Big Kimbos With Adalberto Santiago in 1977. That year he made his solo debut on Adalberto, which was produced by Ray Barretto and contained two of his own compositions. Los Kimbos continued under the leadership of timbales player Orestes Vilató and released two further albums- Hoy y Mañana (1978) and Aquacero No Me Moja (1979). Santiago sang lead on one track on Louie Ramírez y Sus Amigos by Louie Ramírez. In 1979, Adalberto and Ramírez co-produced his solo follow-up, Adalberto Featuring Popeye El Marino. The same year, he reunited with Ray Barretto on Rican/Struction. Ray produced Adalberto's next solo album, Feliz Me Siento, the following year. Sonora Matancera member, Javier Vázquez, produced, arranged, directed and played piano on the rootsy Adalberto Santiago, which was Adalberto's contribution to the early 80s típico (typical) revival. In 1982, he teamed up with bandleader/bongo player Roberto Roena for Super Apollo 47:50. Santiago co-produced Calidad with Papo Lucca, who also played piano, arranged one track and oversaw musical direction. His Cosas Del Alma was an album of lush boleros which included his third recorded version of the classic "Alma Con Alma" (previously contained on Barretto's The Message and Gracias ), and featured arrangements made by Tito Puente, Ray Santos and Alberto Naranjo, among others. He returned to harder-edged urban salsa in 1985 on Más Sabroso.
Adalberto did his own mature version of salsa romántica on the classy Sex Symbol, with production, arrangements, musical direction and piano by the ubiquitous Isidro Infante. In 1990, he again performed 'Alma Con Alma', this time arranged by Infante in a salsa romántica style for Louie Ramírez's second album entitled Louie Ramírez y Sus Amigos. In 1993, Adalberto sang lead vocals on the album De Nuevo, recorded in Mexico by Sonora Matancera. Santiago has written songs for a number of the albums on which he has appeared, both as bandleader and solo artist, and provided compositions for other artists to record, such as Joe Cuba. Adalberto has remained true to his Latin roots and a statement he made in 1977 is still relevant in the 90s: "I want to bring a truly Latin message to the people; this is what I do best and the structure of Latin music is best suited to my singing style".
On January 2, 2013, it was announced that Santiago was going to be taking part in Alfredo De La Fe's and Rodry-Go's new production, Sin Límites.
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- Adalberto. Fania Records; 1977
- Adalberto Santiago Featuring Popeye El Marino. Fania Records JM 536; 1979
- Feliz Me Siento. Fania Records; 1980
- Adalberto Santiago. 1981
- Calidad. 1982
- Cosas del Alma. WSCD 4163, 1984
- Más Sabroso. Budda Records 011; 1985.
- Sex Symbol. Mayor 001; 1989.
- Hay Algo en Ella. JV Music 001; 1991.
With Ray Barretto
- Ray Barretto. Latino Con Soul. WS Latino 4053; 1966.
- Ray Barretto. Acid. Fania Records LP 346; 1967.
- Ray Barretto. Hard Hands. Fania Records LP 362; 1968.
- Ray Barretto. Together. Fania Records LP 378; 1969.
- Ray Barretto. Barretto Power. Fania Records 391; 1970.
- Ray Barretto. The Message. Fania Records SLP 403; 1971.
- Ray Barretto. Qué Viva la Música. Fania Records 427; 1972.
- Ray Barretto. Barretto Live In New York: Tomorrow. Messidor 15950; 1976.
- Ray Barreto. Gracias. Fania Records JM 528; 1979.
- Ray Barretto. Rican/Struction. Fania Records JM 552; 1979.
- Celia Cruz, Adalberto Santiago, Ray Barreto: ¡Tremendo Trío!. Fania Records 623; 1983.
With Típica 73
- Típica 73. Típica 73. Inca Records SLP 1031; 1973.
- Típica 73. La Candela. Inca Records SLP 1043; 1975.
With Los Kimbos
- Los Kimbos con Adalberto Santiago. Cotique CS 1083; 1976.
- The Big Kimbos with Adalberto Santiago. Cotique CS 1091; 1977.
With Fania All Stars
- Fania All Stars. Our Latin Thing (2 LPs). Fania Records SLP 431; 1972.
- Fania All Stars. Fania All Stars Live At The Cheetah (Vol. 1 y 2). Fania Records SLP 00415 y SLP 00416; 1974.
- Fania All Stars. Habana Jam. Fania Records FA 116; 1979.
- Fania All Stars. Commitment. Fania Records 564; 1980.
- Fania All Stars. Social Change. Fania 594; 1981.
- Fania All Stars. Lo Que Pide La Gente. Fania Records JM 629; 1984.
- Fania All Stars. Live In Puerto Rico, June 1994. Fania Records 684; 1995.
- Fania All Stars. Viva Colombia: En Concierto (2 CD). Latina 225; 1997.
- Fania All Stars. Bravo. Sony 82351; 1997.
- Louie Ramírez. Louie Ramírez Y Sus Amigos Cotique 1096; 1978
- Louie Ramírez. Salsero. Cotique 1104; 1980.
- Roberto Roena y su Apollo Sound. Super Apollo 47:50. Fania LP 609; 1982
- Adalberto Santiago & Papo Lucca. Calidad. Fania Records 611; 1982.