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Cuban Guitarist Carlos Emilio Morales Dies at 75

Irakere co-founder was also a prolific sideman

Carlos Emilio Morales

Guitarist Carlos Emilio Morales, a co-founder of the famed Cuban band Irakere, which won a Best Latin Recording Grammy in 1980, died Nov. 12 at age 75, in Havana. The cause of death was not reported.

Morales was born in Marianao, Cuba, on Nov. 6, 1939. He studied classical guitar beginning at age 12, influenced by Mexican and Latin guitarists and, later, pioneering jazz guitarists such as Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery. Nicknamed “El Gordo,” Morales attended medical school but as he found work playing music in the late 1950s he turned professional, joining the Teatro Musical de La Habana, where he worked with classical guitarist Leo Brouwer.

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