Eddie Pérez, 77, Salsa Musician
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: August 13, 2013
Eddie Pérez, a founding member of the celebrated salsa band El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, died in San Juan, P.R., on Friday. He was believed to be 77.
Rafael Bisbal/Richie Viera Entertainment, via Associated Press
The cause was a blood infection following a foot amputation, his daughter Mariel Pérez said.
Mr. Pérez, known by the nickname La Bala (the Bullet), played alto saxophone and sang backup vocals. He was one of the only two remaining original members of El Gran Combo, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. The other is the pianist Rafael Ithier, who founded the band in 1962 and who, like Mr. Pérez, had previously been a member of Rafael Cortijo’s group.
El Gran Combo, which has often been called the most successful Puerto Rican band in history, has released more than 40 albums and won the Latin Grammy Award for best salsa album in 2003 and 2007.
Reviewing the band’s 2002 concert at Madison Square Garden in celebration of its 40th anniversary, Ben Ratliff of The New York Times said its sound “has not diminished over time, even with significant personnel changes: it still performs with precise, smashing force.”