Founder of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, as well as being its music director and pianist. He won a 2005 Grammy for Best Salsa Album.
His brother kept a piano in the basement of their apartment building and local musicians would hold jam sessions around it. He learned much from those musicians, and they would provide him with his only formal training.
He wrote commercial jingles for Dunkin' Donuts, General Motors, and CoverGirl and also played piano for the theme to "Sex and the City," HBO's popular series.
His family came to the United States in the 1940s from Puerto Rico and resided in the South Bronx, a ghetto in which many Latinos lived at the time.
He arranged and produced the music for the Broadway musical based on gang member Salvador Agron's life, "The Capeman," at the request of Paul Simon.