The Last Mambo King

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Mambo and stickball: Today they are relics of a golden age in New York history. But in the 1950s they were the twin passions of the Puerto Rican communities in the Bronx and Spanish Harlem. At 81, Bronx native Orlando Marin remains intimately entwined with both. One need only visit the Museum of the City of New York to find Marin commemorated in the Stickball Hall of Fame. And it’s just as easy to find him with his orchestra performing Afro-Cuban dance music to enthusiastic crowds all over town. Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez and Machito are said to be the “big three” mambo masters, but Marin, who is marking his 65th year as a bandleader, is quick to note that “if they had a fourth, it would’ve been me.” Most of mambo’s legendary figures have passed on, but the self-proclaimed Last Mambo King is still going strong. “Today,” Marin says, “I am the last one left.”

 

Original story:   http://nydn.us/mamboking

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