JORGE “CRO-CRO” ORTA
Jorge Orta was born in Caracas, Venezuela, on June 12, 1963. He studied music at the Young Musicians Orchestra School in Venezuela. His musical career began at a very young age participating in musical performances around Caracas’s suburbs. His professional debut was with the Calaben Band and he continued to play with other local bands such as Maderita, Los Gaitétricos, Tradicionales, Grupo Madera, Orquesta Anagó, Los Satélites, Orquesta Fa Menor, La Playa, as well as various merengue bands such as La Familia, El Escuadrón and Roberto Antonio, where he also played Güira and the Dominican Tambora.
Jorge went on to join other bands such as Silva y Guerra, Manuel Guerra and other musical Venezuelan groups. In September of 1995 he traveled to Colombia where he joined the Bronco Band and later Yuri Buenaventura, La Suprema Corte and Sandunga bands, with whom he traveled to United States. Once in the USA he joined various bands such as Volcán, Oro y Plata, Mango Punch, and Grupo Kaché. After staying in the USA for a while he traveled back to Colombia to join the internationally acclaimed “Grupo Niche” of Maestro Jairo Varela with whom he toured Europe, Latin America, and the USA.
Due to his vast musical experience, he has performed with many renowned artists such as Celia Cruz, Pete ‘Conde’ Rodriguez, Mimi Ibarra, Viti Ruiz, Ismael Miranda, Lefty Perez, Henry Fio, Luis Felipe Gonzales, Maelo, Kim de los Santos, Paquito Guzmán, José Bello, Wichie Camacho, and Lalo Rodriguez, as well as many Houston musicians such as Mark Towns, Tina Steele of Latin Jazz and Yelva. While in Houston he fulfilled various goals such as directing the popular local band Grupo Kache, with whom he produced their first CD. Jorge has also collaborated in recording projects of several Houston musicians’ such as Penny Lea, Buzz Smith, the Merengue Band Mi Rumba, Batachá, Mark Towns, Gilbert Cedeño, and Mango Punch. He also taught Latin percussion at McArthur High School in the Aldine School District. In 2003 and early 2004 Jorge again toured the USA with Grupo Niche and participated in the recording of the first CD of the Son de Cali Band. He formed his own band in 2010 ‘CroCro y su Tumbaká’, producing several shows in Houston, Texas.
In February of 2004 he temporarily relocated to Orlando, Florida, where he again formed his own group “The Band” and performed with various local bands such as Adalberto Bravo, Charlie Cruz, Michael Stuart, Frankie Negrón, Domingo Quiñones, Anthony Cruz, Pedro Conga, Edgar Daniel, Luisito Carrión, José Ernesto, Jerry Galante, and Luigui Texidor. That same year he joined Sonora Carruseles with whom he toured three times throughout Europe and the USA. While in Orlando he also performed with the Walt Disney World Tropical Band at Animal Kingdom performing throughout out the park.
In early 2007 he permanently relocated to Houston, Texas, where he has been based since and until 2010 toured around the world with Grupo Niche. With the desire to do great things he decided to leave Group Niche to form his own band and direct the Houston All Star band that included the best musicians in town to do shows and bring in international soloists. He has accompanied international artists such as Maelo Ruíz, Tito Rojas, José Alberto El Canario, Ray De La Paz, Henry Fiol, La India, Tito Nieves, Charlie Cruz, Oswaldo Roman, Yan Collazos, and Roberto Blades, among others. He began to collaborate with different organizations such as Foundation for Modern Arts (FMM), Flamart (featuring Latin American Music and Arts), and Strictly Street Salsa and has performed on some of the most important stages in the city such as The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, Museum of Fine Arts (MFHA), Miller Theatre and others. He was selected to be the Musical Director of Salsa y Salud, the first event of its kind in the country and currently the largest show of Salsa and Health in Texas. Jorge was the Musical Director of the first Salsa Festival in Houston. During the Viva Venezuela Festival in 2011 he was awarded the ‘Recognition for Talent and Dedication’ Award.
In 2012 he was invited to accompany the renowned Latin singer José Alberto El Canario at the Big Salsa Festival in San Antonio, and later in 2013 was again invited to accompany with his band Tumbaka all the performing artists at that event which among others were Tony Vega, Jimmy Bosch, Frankie Vasquez, and Adalberto Santiago, and again in 2014 with Larry Harlow, Osvaldo Roman and Tito Allen. He was also invited to perform at the Dallas Salsa Congress to perform along Frankie Vasquez.
Besides the position of Music Director of the previously mentioned events, he teaches Latin percussion and is active in the planning of annual events and collaborates with local organizations. During the 4th Annual Salsa y Salud: La Fiesta del Barrio Event on September 19, 2014, he was honored by the City of Houston with a Proclamation for using an interactive performance as a vehicle to positively impact the community. Jorge just released his first Salsa CD production Crocro y su Tumbaka named Capitan de mi Barco.
Jorge Orta "crocro"