El Gran Combo’s “Paleco” and Personal Excellence


How do you want to be remembered when you die? How will your life be measured? I think it’s not by how many important people go to your funeral. I think it’s not by the material possessions you obtained of left behind. I believe you’ll be remembered by the quality of your life, and the impact on what you did and how you did it had in others.

El Gran Combo‘s longtime “bandboy”, Angel Luis Garcia Cordova, otherwise popularly known as “Paleco”, ironically passed away a few days after the band he worked for so many years (“El Gran Combo”) was celebrating their landmark 50th Anniversary. “Paleco”, as singer Andy Montañez baptized him, was remembered by the quality of his work and the excellence of his personal life.

El Gran Combo's Paleco receiving a plaque
“Paleco” recieved a homage during “El Dia Nacional de la Zalsa” in Puerto Rico.

“Paleco” was bandboy first for the legendary “Cortijo y Su Combo”, and when Rafael Ithier and other left Cortijo’s Combo to form their own, “Paleco” was part of the new beginning. At his funeral, many of the current and past members of “El Gran Combo” gathered to say goodbye to a friend that was remembered by the dedication to his work and family. As bandboy, “Paleco” was responsible for making sure the equipment of “El Gran Combo” was delivered, set, and functioning properly to allow for a flawless performance by “El Gran Combo”.

“Paleco” was remembered by those that were able to experience his dedication and love for his work, and by those that knew the personal excellence of his life. It so happens that well known members of the Salsa artistic community knew and honored this great humble man, who also sold ice cream by the streets of Santurce, Puerto Rico.

“…por Cantera se oye ‘Paleco’ con su pregón,
Mantecadito, mantecadito, mantecadón…”

Andy Montañez with El Gran Combo
“El Son de Santurce”

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and
should be undertaken with painstaking excellence”
Martin Luther King,  Jr.

“Excellence is the gradual result of always striving to do better”
Pat Riley

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work”


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