Noel Quintana & The Latin Crew
The Latin Crew specializes in Salsa music with a bit of New York and Cuban flavor. This diverse 11-piece also incorporates the sounds of Latin Jazz, Merengue and Cha-Cha.
Noel Quintana, also known as "Mr. Conga" and band leader of The Latin Crew, is a Pittsburgh-based Puerto Rican percussionist, researcher, educator and avid collector of Latin music photos, records, and memorabilia. Born in New York City, Noel grew up surrounded by Afro-Caribbean music. His uncle owned a record store, and he began to build his own record collection early on. After being introduced to Luis Romero, a renowned percussionist and recording artist, Noel began to take private lessons on the conga drums. He attended the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in the Museo del Barrio where he studied Afro-Cuban and Afro-Puerto Rican styles as well as contemporary urban salsa with "Little" Ray Romero, Johnny Almendra, Luis "Timbalito" Romero, and Pedro Fernandez. In New York, he began to perform professionally with the band Sabor Boricua and a few Colombian salsa bands that favored Cuban and Puerto Rican percussionists. Noel has also performed with Tito Puente, Johnny Almendra y Los Jovenes del Barrio, Luis Romero y Mazacote, Richie Ray, Pedro Jesus, Anthony Cruz, Andy Montanez and Tommy Olivencia.