After a stint in Puerto Rico where he honed his skills on the trap set, Ray returned to the States to find himself touring nationally and in Europe and Japan with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. For the seven years Ray was with Blakey he occupied his off-hours doing studio work while recording and performing with almost every major figure in jazz including singers Eartha Kitt and Josephine Baker.
In 1977, Ray Mantilla became the first North American Latin musician to play in Cuba since the Cuban Revolution when he appeared there as an essential member of the historic goodwill ensemble led by Dizzy Gillespie.
Ray Mantilla's career has included membership in many legendary Jazz and Latin Jazz ensembles. A short list of Mantilla's credits includes, Max Roach, Charles Mingus, Ray Barretto, Gato Barbieri, Sonny Stitt, Bobby Watson, Herbie Mann, Tito Puente, Cedar Walton, and Freddie Hubbard. Prolific in the studio, Mantilla can be heard on more than 200 albums. He has appeared in all major clubs in New York City — the Apollo Theater, Palladium, Blue Note, SOB's, Birdland, Fat Tuesday's, Village Gate and the Village Vanguard in addition to many major international jazz festivals such as Sanremo, the Pori Jazz Festival, JVC Jazz Festival, Montreaux Jazz Festival and the Grande Parade du Jazz.
Ray Mantilla describes his music as "Latin Jazz with authentic Latino rhythms." His goal, he says "is to keep playing good music, have people come to see us, and to preserve the tradition." In 2003 Ray Mantilla signed with Savant Records and his first record for the label, “Man-Ti-Ya” was released (SCD 2059). His latest recording, “Good Vibrations” (SCD 2073) adds the unique sound of Mike Freeman's vibes to his ensemble.
- Man-Ti-Ya by Javier AQ Ortiz
- Good Vibrations by Nic Jones
- Good Vibrations by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
May 23, 2017
June 17, 2008
Ray Mantilla: The Complete Percussionist
October 03, 2001
January 30, 2001
June 15, 2000
Red Records releases The Jazz Tribe featuring Ray Mantilla & Bobby...
Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson
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