Born: June 25, 1961 Primary Instrument: Percussion
PONME A GOZAR! Put me to swing is the welcome tune on his website www.chinonunez.com. Most appropriate, considering his insatiable appetite and passion for music as a gifted veteran of the industry.
There are too many adjectives to describe Chino's acquired professional credentials...percussionist extraordinarie, pianist, arranger, conductor, composer, producer, engineer, and educator.
Chino candidly acknowledges every experience, everyone, everything, as influential to his success. His well-known reflection of being blessed is found in nearly every interview, print or otherwise.
As one of the most respected and sought freelance producer and percussionist on the East Coast and beyond, Chino has performed in a broad arena of venues worldwide including the increasingly popular Salsa Congresses, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, Northsea Jazz Festival in Amsterdam, Montreal Jazz Festival, Tito Puente Amphitheatre and the Bellas Arte Performing Arts in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport News, RI, Trump Plaza Casino in Atlantic City and many other locations.
He wears many hats! Chino is the timbalero for Spanish Harlem Orchestra (SHO), whose classic old school style of music has earned them worldwide recognition in less than 3 years. Unbeknown to many, Chino also enjoys dancing On 1 or On 2 demonstrating Spanish Harlem Orchestra's artistic aesthetics during the changing of the guards. While vocalist Willie Torres and Marco Bermudes take over on percussion demonstrating their hidden talents, Chino and fellow- percussionist, and long-time friend, Bobbie Allende demonstrate their dance techniques, as Salsero's aficionados transform the dance floor in to a scene from Albert Torres Productions World's Largest Salsa Congress.
Chino is also the musical director for the legendary Ray Sepulveda and the popular Johnny Rivera. He is also frequently called upon to perform by the East Coast's Who's Who including Jimmy Bosch, Frankie Vasquez Y Los Soneros del Barrio, Ernie Acevedo Y Su Conjunto Imagen, Rafael DeJesus Y Su Orquesta and Conjunto Clasico.
Chino will oftentimes receive the call of duty from the major league touring the tri-states, such as the likes of El Gran Combo De Puerto Rico, Tito Nieves, Oscar DeLeon, Tito Rojas, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Victor Manuelle, Jerry Rivera, Ruben Blades, Michael Stewart and many more.
When he’s not performing, Chino can be found at his [in home] recording studio, Jan-Mar Productions. Meticulously and methodically composing and arranging the indefatigable unique and rhythmic swing projects that he is distinctively known for, which are in constant demand by enthusiasts alike and many others. His success, dictated in his discography library, reflects this message: Music is a universal language; it has no boundaries or restrictions; no race or creed. It is the only form of unity we have where two or more individuals from different ethnicities can communicate without speaking a word to each other & still know what each one is thinking. Even a person who cannot hear, can feel the rhythm in their heart & soul. It is the only form of peace this world will ever know.
Personally, Chino has many interests and is supportive of the Arts through community-based initiatives. He promotes positive example through music with organizations such as Music Against Drugs and the Boys & Girls Harbor of Performing Arts. He is also passionate about his involvement with inner-city children and has sponsored little league softball teams and volunteers at youth-oriented functions.
As a single parent, Chino worships his teenage daughter Margarita (“Maggie”) whom he lovingly refers to as his “Baby Girl”. He credits Maggie, who was named after his late mother Margarita, with saving his life. He also reflects on how blessed he his to embark on the second half of his life, alongside his other-half as he affectionately refers to his wife Elaine.
Chino is also an avid baseball enthusiast, visiting the Yankee Stadium whenever possible to support his favorite ballplayer Jorge Posada and team, the NY Yankees. In the past, he has directed the Ray Sepulveda Orquesta in numerous performances at the Yankee Stadium for World Series and ACLS games, as well as other MLB events.
Himself an amateur baseball player, Chino is still actively playing ball as the catcher for Q&A Softball Team. He claims to have “produced” some of his most successful projects while on the field with his teammates. The team was founded by world renown percussionists and long-time friends Marc Quinones and Bobbie Allende, whom he fondly acknowledges for their relentless inspiration and influence throughout his career.
Chino has received countless lifetime achievement awards. As a member of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, he was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2002, won a Latin Billboard Award in 2003, has been nominated for a 2005 Latin Billboard Award and by the International Reggae & World Music Awards for Best Salsa/Latin Oriented Entertainer of 2004. But perhaps the most prestigious recognition yet was on February 13, 2005, when Spanish Harlem Orchestra received a Grammy for Best Salsa Album of 2004.
Chino, along with all of the members of Spanish Harlem Orchestra, embrace the worldwide DJ’s, as well as the community- at-large, for their triumphant and history making recognitions, which could not have been possible without their ongoing support. While he considers himself blessed for his lifetime achievements, he regrets however that his parents, the late Pablo and Margarita Nunez, are not physically with him today to baste in his glory.
A modest man with a humble upbringing, Chino is of Puerto Rican descent, rooted in Brooklyn to strict devout Catholics. His father Pablo, was a blue-collar worker, and his mother Margarita, was a stay-at-home mom. They embraced his talent by influencing his musical abilities at barely the age of 8 and challenged him to practice religiously and strive for excellence.
By age 12, Chino began to establish his mark in the industry and was performing regularly with local talents Amaury y su Tipica Latina, Conjunto Acere, Orquesta Realidad and Ceasar y la Ritmica; while simultaneously performing with such legendary unforgettable’s as Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, Adalberto Santiago, Tito Puente, Ismael Miranda, Cheo Feliciano, Luis Perico Ortiz and many more.
A memorable childhood experience Chino reflects on was in the 8th grade. It was the first day of school and he was in his music class when it became quite obvious that his musical knowledge was much more advanced than that of the intro lesson. When he refused to participate simply offering he was a “professional” musician, everyone reacted with laughter. His demeanor resulted in a suspension from school.
A teacher, Victor Ramirez, learned of Chino’s dilemma. Having seen him perform with the major league players at what were than the top venues in the City, Mr. Ramirez came to Chino's defense. Mr. Ramirez spoke with the school administration, as well as the music teacher, and explained that in the [salsa] music industry Chino was already considered a professional musician. Chino was allowed to return to school but the experience had a lifetime impact on his persona: Success cannot be measured nor taken for granted; success is earned solely through communication, awareness, support, and respect for each another.
At age 16, Chino made his first recording with who was than Johnny Ortiz y Su Sonido Taibori with Tito Nieves on vocals. This was also Tito’s first recording and till this day Chino has recorded on most of his projects. But his lifetime discography library has evolved and is innumerable. His productions and performances have had no boundaries, restrictions or limitations and also include the likes of Missy Elliott, Jennifer Lopez, and Cindy Lauper.
In his lifetime, Chino has been fortunate to have toured extensively from coast to coast and abroad, currently with the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. However, most memorable were his performances with the legendary’s Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon, Ray Barretto, and many others whose music he absorbed and also considers instrumental to his success today.
He has also engaged in numerous Broadway Show projects including Evita, The Cape Man and Lion King, and occasionally will play the shows. In addition, he has made an abundance of videos; and had a cameo role with Adalberto Santiago & His Orchestra in a major motion picture entitled Moscow on the Hudson starring Robin Williams and Maria Conchita Alonzo.
Chino, a self-taught musician without any formal education, has undoubtedly made his mark in the industry and continues seeking methods to contribute positively . He frequently reiterates crediting each and every musical exposure he has had in his lifetime with a lesson-learned. He also attributes his successful arrangement talent to long-time friend and confidant Willie Ruiz (“The Profe”) for patiently and untiredly teaching him the basics. Today, with hundreds of compositions to his credit Chino’s “style” is one of the most respected, recognized and in-demand on the East Coast.
As an educator Chino's teachings, known for there simplistic yet thorough lessons, have earned him credibility and he is pursued worldwide. He has facilitated clinics, workshops and seminars in a variety of sectors including conferences, conventions and University’s such as Cornell, Long Island and Villanova.
In 2004, Chino was approached by Albert Torres, Albert Torres Productions, and offered the opportunity to be an instructor for a never before attempted musicians’ seminar. The seminar described as an anticipated history-making event took place at the 6th Annual World Salsa Congress held in Los Angeles, CA.
After an exhausting 3 full day of clinics, each instructor selected (2) students from their [category] class and formed the “Salsa Congress Band”. Followed by just one full day of rehearsal, the band opened the Congress on the first night to an audience of thousands of individuals! This event, considered a promoter’s delight, was a tremendous success and all of the instructors, including Chino, were invited to return for an encore seminar in 2005.
Chino’s endorsements include Latin Percussion (“LP”) where he produced, participated, and narrated (2) DVD’s entitled The Rythmic Construction of a Salsa Tune, Vol. I and the soon to be released Vol. II; and UNIGRIP who in the near future will be announcing a signature-line-stick that Chino is exclusively designing.
But his proudest endorsement yet to come will be with the release of his upcoming CD, It’s SHOtime, Strictly Hardcore On 1 or 2, Un Homenaje Al Bailador, A Tribute to Dancers, on the Cookita Records label. Chino is eternally endeavored to Willie Melendez for his confidence and support on this project, and the ongoing calls from fellow musicians' alike humbly offering their support.
Chino's mission... to become a pivotal player in improving better business ethics to the advantage of musicians and their future.