Gary Núñez, graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and then Magna Cum Laude from the Music Conservatory of Puerto Rico, nonetheless Gary credits “la calle” (public performance) and its fellow musicians for his true musical knowledge. A self taught bass player, Gary learned other instruments, includingdrums, guitar and vibraphone, before finding his “true voice” through the four string double bass.
Gary has always had his own independent voice and musical vision. That is why in 1975, while the Latin music world was tuned to “salsa”, he chose to deeply study the history and styles of Puerto Rican music.
He learned to play the “cuatro puertorriqueño” (Puerto Rico’s national string instrument) and developed a group that would become one of the most important strongholds for the development of the “New Song” movement in Puerto Rico, “Moliendo Vidrio”.
With this group, Gary became involved in the development of two tendencies that later would be a part of the music industry in Puerto Rico. The development and projection of musical groups based on Puerto Rico’s countryside music and the realization of independent musical recordings, outside of the major labels.
In the 80’s, after forming his own “salsa” orchestra with a typical Puerto Rican flavor, Gary developed “Caribe Jazz”. This jazz project was based on the fusion of the musical structure of jazz, on top of Afro-Puerto Rican rhythms. This tendency would later be further developed by top Puerto Rican jazz performers.
In the 90’s, and as a product of “plena” jam sessions, Gary Nuñez delved into one of the richest, happiest, most dancable music in Puerto Rican culture; the Plena. Except for extraordinary folklore presentations, the “plena” had been virtually silent for almost fifteen years. In 1994, Gary created and designed a new sound, concept and strategy for the “plena”, and thus, Plena Libre was born.
Gary has been in charge of all the album productions (13) and musical arrangements for Plena Libre, which have lead to four Grammy nominations and performances in fifteen countries around the world.
He has contributed over fifty (50) original musical compositions performed and recorded by the group, which embody a new lyrical perspective for the “plena”.
Gary’s contributions to the development and promotion of Puerto Rican music though his different projects have been recognized by many institutions; including the the Puerto Rican Institute of Culture, the Commission for the 500th Anniversary of the Discovery of Puerto Rico and America, the Senate and the House of Representatives of Puerto Rico. In addition, he is included in books that trace the history of Puerto Rico’s popular music like “Del Bolero a la Nueva Cancion” (From the “Bolero” to the New Song), written by Pedro Malavet Vega, and the “Music Encyclopedia of Puerto Rico” by Professor Hector Campos Parsi.
Considered to be a proficient musician, an innovator and consistent lover and “worker” of Puerto Rican music, Gary Nuñez is always expanding the reach of this music, while in search of his own voice and identity in the music world.