José “Pepito” Gómez emerged from his hometown of Camagüey, Cuba to become lead singer of Maravilla de Florida, Charanga Latina Orchestra and Habana Ensemble, respectively. He toured with the late Compay Segundo of the Buena Vista Social Club, and was a lead singer of Cuban mega-band Pupy y Los Que Son Son before moving to the U.S. Backed by a powerhouse ensemble of NYC Cuban all-stars, he moves from heart-wrenching romantic ballads to high-octane timba arrangements, replete with torrents of improvisations and frenzy-inducing call-and-response. His tribute to the Buena Vista Social Club project is a true homage to the Cuban legends.
José “Pepito” Gómez was born in a small town called Florida, in the province of Camagüey, Cuba in 1972. After a few years of singing with small local bands, the word was out that Maravilla de Florida was looking for a new singer. Mr. Gómez went in for the audition and was tested on voice and improvisation skills. Shortly thereafter he was accepted as a new lead singer. Maravilla de Florida boasts over 50 years of rich musical tradition and several number one hits in Cuba. This was the band that would begin to shape his future career as a vocalist.
Gómez later met Enrique Álvarez, director of the Charanga Latina Orchestra. Mr. Álvarez asked Gómez to join his band. He remained with La Charanga Latina for a period of two years during which he took part in several tours in Europe and North America.
After his departure from La Charanga Latina, he carried out a few solo projects and participated as in projects such as Colé – Colé and Azúcar Negra, which led him on tour to New York City’s Lincoln Center in 1999. He also toured with the late Compay Segundo of the Buena Vista Social Club.
A big break came for Gomez when he was asked to join Habana Ensemble, a band that was formed by the members of Irakere, one of most important and influential Latin Jazz Bands not only in Cuba but worldwide. This represented a new challenge in his career as he found himself training at the highest level of Cuban musicianship, which motivated him to continue developing professionally.
It was during this time that he met one of the most important figures in the history of Cuban Music: César “Pupy” Pedroso. Mr. Pedroso was then the pianist, co-founder and composer of the most popular Cuban Music group in the world, Los Van Van. Van Van enjoys a 40 year history on top of the Cuban Music scene and and continues to thrive worldwide.
Pedroso was planning on starting a solo project that would be later known as Los Que Son Son. He invited Gómez to join his new band as lead singer therefore becoming one of the original founding members. With Los Que Son Son he had the great privilege to travel and present his music in the most prestigious venues around the world. He remained with the band as a lead vocalist and composer until his recent decision to immigrate to the United States.
Additionally, he was given the opportunity to share the stage with artists of the caliber of Gilberto Santarosa, Cheo Feliciano, and Compay Segundo, as well a multitude of other world famous orchestras and singers.