Master Timbalero Ralph Irizarry


Ralph Irizarry

Ralph Irizarry, recognized worldwide as an excellent percussionist, first fell in love with the timbal at an early age when his father coincidentally brought home a set received as payment for a debt. A self-taught musician, Irizarry has developed a highly efficient and personalized style of playing while leaving an enduring mark on the artists with whom he has collaborated. His love for the instrument evolved into a full-fledged passion that has fueled his career since 1970. Irizarry admits, without reservation, that this passion has been all consuming since he was a youngster, and is the same passion that he infuses now into his music.

Born in New York’s Spanish Harlem, Ralph Irizarry’s family first moved to Brooklyn and then briefly to Queens, before finally relocating in Puerto Rico in 1970. There, he spent three years immersed in music and gained the knowledge and experience that eventually granted him the opportunity to join Ponce’s La Terrífica, as well as sitting in with such prestigious aggregations as El Gran Combo and Sonora Ponceña.

In 1974, Ralph Irizarry returned to New York City to pursue a career as a professional musician. After playing and recording with local groups for almost four years, his big break finally came when Ray Barretto invited him to join his top-ranked orchestra and shortly afterward, they were in studio recording the first of six productions.

In April of 1983, Rubén Blades sought out Irizarry to join in the formation of Seis Del Solar. This association lasted for fourteen years and consisted of intense performing and traveling as well as the production of eight recordings. After Blades left and with his encouragement, the group continued performing and recorded two Latin jazz albums.

Ralph Irizarry has performed, recorded and toured with the likes of Bebo Valdés, Harry Belafonte, David Byrne, Celia Cruz, Paquito D’Rivera, Juan Luis Guerra, Earl Klug, Israel López “Cachao”, Wynton Marsalis, Paul Simon and many others. He has appeared on the Johnny Carson Show and the David Letterman Show, as well as Don Francisco’s Sábado Gigante and Raul Velasco’s Siempre en Domingo. Irizarry has been featured in the major motion film The Mambo Kings and documentaries such as Belafonte’s Routes of Rhythm, Cachao’s Como Mi Rítmo No Hay Dos and The Life of Rubén Blades.

Timbalaye is back with Algo Nuevo!

Ralph Irizarry & Timbalaye - Algo NuevoIn 1996, Ralph Irizarry created his own Latin jazz project, Timbalaye, a Latin jazz septet with a different instrumental format, Latin percussion instruments instead of the typical American drum set, as well as a fresh approach and innovative sound. Timbalaye’s repertoire has always combined sophisticated contemporary jazz harmonic schemes with rhythmic elements and patterns from Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean.

The year 2013 definitely marked the beginning of a new stage in the life of the group and many exciting things are happening for Timbalaye, such as a return to the recording studio and scheduled performances the world over. The addition of a new crop of incredibly talented young musicians whose individual styling have breathed new life to the all-original Timbalaye repertoire guarantees the complete success of the group’s new endeavors.

Timbalaye’s latest exciting recording, still in process and soon to be completed, is entitled Algo Nuevo. The advance promotional copy containing four tracks is being distributed for your consideration, airplay and reviews. Ralph Irizarry is available for telephone and/or in-person interviews. Any comments, reviews, radio playtime, etc. will be highly appreciated.

“After seen so many trends come and go, what I’ve always aimed to achieve remains unchanged, maintaining the traditions and roots of the music we originally fell in love with,” states Irizarry. “Since record labels seem to be a thing of the past and (we) musicians still have the creative drive and a need to produce recorded material, I believe it’s a true blessing to be able to deliver to music fans a highly dynamic product.”

For updated information on Timbalaye’s future performances and tours as well as current live videos, new music, bios and lots more, please go to Timbalaye’s Facebook page at


Ralph Irizarry & Son CafeSonCafé is Ralph Irizarry’s son and salsa ensemble structured in the typical conjunto fashion. The group is still making an impact on New York City’s Latin music scene. Evolved from his former ‘Son Criollo’ sextet, the eight-piece powerhouse is integrated by seasoned musicians and outstanding vocalists. SonCafé‘s exciting novel sound and powerful delivery encompasses a blend of diverse influences pleasing to listening and dance audiences alike. Since its inception SonCafé has released two CDs in the marketplace, the debut CD entitled Bailando con Azúcar and the all medley’s CD Tributo. As well as a Live Performance DVD entitled En Grande y En Vivo!

Los Viejos de La Salsa

Ralph Irizarry & Los Viejos de la Salsa

Two years ago, Ralph Irizarry returned to the arena as leader of Los Viejos de la Salsa, an absolute powerful aggregation integrated by a group of experienced musicians who have shared stages with Irizarry the world over for more than forty years and, of course, a new recorded product. The album, entitled Viejos pero sabrosos, packs twelve incredible tunes—nine of which are original compositions—very well fit for anyone’s discriminating listening and dancing pleasures.

The band Los Viejos de la Salsa is made of seasoned musicians, like Eddie Montalvo, Elias Lopes, Reynaldo Jorge, Edy Martinez and a host of others, who have shared stages with Irizarry for over 40 years and have nothing to prove any longer, as they’ve kicked butt so many times in the past. Here, within this brand new aggregation, they sound like if they were playing exclusively for the love of music. And yes, they kick butt once again!

Bruce Polin of says, “Viejos Pero Sabrosos is a relentless barrage of fist-in-the-air salsa. It’s a statement about salsa musicians transcending age/time and, like a fine wine, can actually distill into something greater than its younger, less seasoned counterparts. It’s homage to the players of the past (Reunión Celestial sings the praises of the Fania All Stars) and an affirmation of the potency of the elder generation (Como El Vino).”

Indeed, the concept behind the CD is to showcase and emphasize the continued level of excellence and experience achieved throughout the years by these veteran musicians. Their contributions have laid the foundation for younger generations who follow in their footsteps. Short of needing oxygen tanks, wheelchairs and canes, they deliver in an unparalleled fashioned. And, guess what? Like aging wine they’re better than ever!

For Bookings and/or additional information please contact: Ralph Irizarry – Tel: 718.355.9153 – E-mail:

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