Musicians from Puerto Rican Congress reunite for a live performance at WBEZ

June 17, 2011

Produced by Eight Forty-Eight

Download Story
(Photo courtesy of the Numero Group)
In the 1970s Carlos 'Caribe' Ruis created a music academy in Humboldt Park for young, aspiring Puerto Rican musicians.
(WBEZ/Shawn Allee)
Musicians from Puerto Rican Congress performed at WBEZ's Humboldt Park Bureau.
(WBEZ/Shawn Allee)
David Arroyo was a member of Tipica Leal.
(WBEZ/Shawn Allee)
Alfie Martinez was a member of La Justicia.
(WBEZ/Shawn Allee)
Jimmy Hernandez was a member of La Justicia.
(WBEZ/Shawn Allee)
Gene Rodriguez joined them all on bass.

A correction has been made to this story.

In the 1950s, Carlos “Caribe” Ruis created a gathering for the Humboldt Park community. The Puerto Rican Congress is a civic organization located on North Ave. in Chicago. In the 1970s Ruiz created a music academy there: An outlet for young, aspiring Puerto Rican musicians.

Chicago label Numero Group recently collected the music of some bands from that period on the CD Cult Cargo: Salsa Boricua De Chicago.

Members of two of those bands joined Eight Forty-Eight. David Arroyo was a member of Tipica Leal, and Jimmy Hernandez and Alfie Martinez were members of La Justicia. They were joined by Gene Rodriguez on bass. They’ve played together in numerous bands since those days at the academy, but were together again to perform at WBEZ's West Side Bureau.

Music performed during our segment with David Arroyo, Jimmy Hernandez, Alfie Martinez, Gene Rodriguez:
Dizzy Gillespie & Gil Fuller's "Manteca"
Tito Puente's "Que Sera Mi China"

Correction: An earlier version of this story and audio misstated the name of the civic organization created by Carlos "Caribe" Ruis.  It is the Puerto Rican Congress.