Toca Welcomes Mr. Slap, Jimmie Morales, to the Artist Roster

The man has cut over 300-salsa albums on congas. “I’m told there are many more,” says Jimmie Morales. “I’m just pleased to have played with so many great artists.”

Jimmie’s understandably particular about his choice of congas. When recently an opportunity came to join the Toca artist roster, he jumped at it.

Morales is not a flashy player and doesn’t rely on big movements to get big sounds. As for the nickname Mr. Slap, Jimmie can coax an astounding range of tones simply by varying his finger positions low to the drum. His slaps can be so soft you hear flies buzzing. Then he’ll rumble the room with his firm touch.

“I don’t have to raise my hand high to get the sound,” Jimmie says. “Often I’m working a few inches from the head to get open and closed tones. The Toca fiberglass conga ‘reads’ my strokes best.” Meanwhile, the shape of the Toca fiberglass drum provides ample bottom. Morales’ attention to detail explains why he appears on so many albums. Throw any style or genre at him in the studio & he’ll get the right sound and deliver a track immaculately.

Born in Connecticut in 1957, Jimmie’s family moved to Puerto Rico in 1967. Surrounded by salsa he took up congas with a vengeance, gleaning his style from the famed congueros, including Candido, Mongo Santamaria, Patato Valdez and Johnny Rodriguez. But Ray Barretto was Jimmie’s beacon. “His style was so identifiable whether he was playing Latin or jazz. Style is something you have to work at.”

In 1978 he hooked up with Willie Rosario and toured extensively, booked alongside Latin greats including the band Batacumbele, featuring a young Giovanni Hidalgo on congas. In 1986, Jimmie left Rosario and began a long tenure with famed salsa singer Gilberto Santa Rosa. All the while he was working the studios and continues adding titles to that huge discography of 300-recordings (and then some).

Toca is proud that Jimmie Morales, a prolific conguero who crosses genres with ease, has joined the artist team. Mr. Slap has found his new home!