Ray Rodriguez/ Swing Sabroso
Host: Jesse Bermudez
An annual not to be missed event, Salsa Caliente! celebrates Three Kings Day and Puerto Rican Christmas with one of Philly’s hottest Latin big bands, Ray Rodriguez y Swing Sabroso. Get your Salsa Dura on with dance lessons by Flaco at 8 pm. Salsa Caliente! is Philly’s exclusive salsa nightlife series offering an environment for all walks of life to immerse themselves in authentic Latin music culture.
Ray Rodriguez y Swing Sabroso– Salsero de Corazon
Ray is a die hard salsero. Born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Rodriguez developed a fascination for music at the age of ten. His father bought him his first saxophone. He has worked with smaller groups but has always liked the sound of a big band. Since 2000 he has been the band leader for Swing Sabroso, a band consisting of ten members.
In speaking with Ray you can feel the passion and the pride he emanates for his band members, fans, friends, family and the music. He not only has an educational background in music but studied Sales and Marketing in College. This experience has proven to be beneficial in promoting the band.
Ray admits that it is difficult to manage a large band. There are many in the field and not enough venues. Not only does he have to market the band to the numerous venues but he tries to remain cost-effective for the consumer. As a band leader and to ensure that he and his band are well-represented Ray searches for the best arrangers and composers in the field to accomplish his goals.
Swing Sabroso has recorded the “Baila con Swing Sabroso” CD and the new single “Salsa Pa’l Mundo Entero.” The new single is doing well and they are currently in the studio working on a new CD. The single was written by Lino Iglesias, a resident of Philadelphia and someone that Ray speaks highly of for his talent in writing and composing songs. When performing, Ray ensures that all his members are recognized.
Some of Ray’s influences in the music world are Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Roberto Roena, La Sonora Poncena, but his main influence stems from Willie Rosario. Like Willie Rosario Ray emphasizes the unity and ongoing improvement of a large band. Image is also incredibly important. Ray and the band strive to be well dressed whether it is a formal or informal event. Ray states, “If a band respects their fans then they will get that respect back.”
Leading up to Swing Sabroso Ray managed the Latin Jazz Project where he emulated some of his jazz influences such as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Cal Tjader and Poncho Sanchez. He melted these influences into a flavor of Latin Jazz. Following this experience he then segued into Swing Sabroso where he is able to express and live out his love of Salsa Dura.
Swing Sabroso supports community causes with a focus on Cancer. They increase awareness of the need to support those who are traveling through this most difficult journey and oftentimes become ambassadors for the cause with the fans who share their stories.
Ray’s passion of music led him to pursue an education in music. He did work in the corporate world but his enjoyment is definitely transformed into the world of music. He encourages the youth who have a passion for music to stay in school. By staying in school they can develop a solid foundation that he/she will need for all other facets of their careers. His message to youth: “Follow your dreams and go for it.”