César Concepción y su Orquesta

by Edgardo Díaz Díaz

Was founded by Cayetano César Concepción Martínez (1909–1974). The orchestra first performed alongside Noro Morales’s Orchestra on June, 14, 1947 at the New Yorker Club in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Three trumpets, three Joe Valle saxophones or clarinets, and a rhythmic section consisting of piano, bass, timbal, conga and bongo formed the orchestra, along with a singer alternating slow boleros with faster guaracha-like genres. Boleros were arranged in a strophic format, with lyrics in charge of the bolerista, or bolero singer; while Concepción performed solo melodies for trumpet at the introductory and inner instrumental sections.
Joe ValleBetween 1947 and 1954, Joe Valle was the orchestra’s main singer. Valle (1921–1980), was considered to be among Puerto Rico’s most notable boleristas. This orchestra is best known for having presented a ballroom version of the popular plena to upper-class groups. A lively sound otherwise played by shantytown and rural conjuntos, plena arrangements for the Concepción orchestra suppressed the characteristic panderos, and acquiesced to smoother rhythms in line with current big-band styles. Standard musical arrangements and simple dance steps were introduced to local upper- and middle-class couples in major hotel ballrooms. Until its breakup in 1968, this orchestra maintained its popularity through live radio and TV shows while it accompanied singers of international stature at the Hilton and Flamboyan hotels.

For further reading:

Santiago, Javier. 1994. Nueva ola portoricensis. San Juan: Editorial del Patio, p. 258.

Aparicio, Frances R. 1998. Listening to Salsa. Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, p.33.

Uploaded - October 15, 2010.

Content credits Center for Puerto Rican Studies
Image Credits: Cortesy of Edgardo Díaz Díaz| All Rights Reserved