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Jose Rey Cruz




Rey Cruz was born in Panama City and his musical experience started when he was little playing in various musical groups and choirs in the San Miguel neighborhood. At the time, the music that prevailed in the neighborhood was Salsa, Soul and R&B so Rey started playing and listening to these particular styles.   

Later, Rey had the opportunity to play in national bands like Ebony, Saoco, Herencia Latina, Conjunto Mamey and the orchestra of Rafael Labasta who was his mentor. With this orchestra Rey had the opportunity to play with a wide variety of national and international artists that came to the popular TV show "Show de la 1".

In the early '90s, Cruz joined the "Band of the National Police" and “Orquesta Cimarrón” a group with a fresh proposal in Panama City at the time directed by Dino Nuggets. With this band Cruz had the opportunity to record extensively and one of those recordings was discovered by Ruben Blades who was impressed by the sound of the orchestra. Blades decided then to record an album with “Orquestra Cimarrón” entitled “La Rosa de los Vientos”, which won a Grammy. Cruz had the privilege to tour around the world with Ruben Blades and the orchestra playing at the most prestigious venues. Rey and his brother Oscar, also had the opportunity to work in the next two Grammy winning recordings by Ruben Blades "Tiempos” and “Cantares del Subdesarrollo”. 

In 2002, after working with diverse groups of salsa and record a vast number of projects, Rey decided to form a new musical experience along with Chispa Lawson and his brother Oscar Cruz. The orchestra was called "Orquesta La K’Shamba de los Hermanos Cruz". With this orchestra Rey and Oscar accompanied countless artists like Cheo Feliciano, Tony Vega, Gilberto Santarosa, Andy Montañez, Richie Ray and Bobby Cruz, Cano Estremera, Tito Allen, Paquito Guzman, Raymond Castro Conjunto Clasico, Luisito Carrion, Jonnhy Rivera, Ray Sepúlveda, Ismael Miranda, Ruben Blades, Pedro Arroyo, Antonhy Cruz, Maelo Ruiz, Tito Rojas, Moncho Rivera, Yolandita Rivera, Luigui Texidor, Adalberto Santiago, Pedro Brull, Wichy Camacho, Roberto Ledezma, Luis Fonsi, Charlie Zaa, Basilio, Jimmy El Leon, Omar Alfanno, Jr. Gonzalez , and Larry Harlow. 

Apart from being one of the leaders of "Orquesta La K'Shamba", Rey Cruz leads an Afro-fusion percussion group called "Los Rumberos Notorios” and is very active in the studio scene in Panamá, Puerto Rico and Miami.