Sheller's Latin work started, not with a typical
Latin band but with the Hugo Dickens Band which
was a band that played Latin, but from the Black
side of Harlem in New York City. Out of this band
came Barry Rogers, Bobby Porcelli, Arthur Jenkins,
Bill Salter, Phil Newsum, Rogers Grant. There
was a demand in Harlem for bands that could do
both funk and Latin and both Hugo Dickens and
Pucho And The Latin Soul Brothers filled this
knew the tenor player, Al Abreu and Victor Venegas
that were in Mongo Sanatamaria's Band and it was
through these connections that he came to join
this band when they needed a trumpet player. The
horn section at the time he joined Mongo's band
was Pat Patrick, who was the musical director,
and Bobby Capers. Bobby was originally a tenor
player but switched to alto when Bobby left the
band and Hubert Laws joined the band.
talks about greatness in the form of two people
he worked with. Mongo and Hubert performed
every night at such a high level that every night
fellow band members would always take notice of
is greatness and it elevated the entire band's
performance. Chick Corea was also a member of
the Mongo band for a while.
One essential element of the band's touring was
doing "corny" gigs in Las Vegas that
helped finance the rest of the tour.
early work with the late Luis Ramirez helped him
understand arranging for Latin music and gave
him a start in this direction. Frankie Malabé
was the conga drummer and also had an effect in
shaping Marty's musical direction.
Mongo preferred to have his band members do the
arranging and performing on his albums and only
occasionally would he bring someone else into
the band for a recording.
Marrero, James Amoroso, Marty Sheller and
around 1969 Marty stopped playing trumpet. He
thought he would pick up the instrument again
but arranging was what he found himself busy with
and by doing the writing and not playing, he was
able to avoid traveling. In addition, he learned
to play trumpet incorrectly and as a result, he
realized he would never attain the level of proficiency
on the trumpet that his mind aspired to and he
focused the rest of his career on writing.
career began to sky rocket with the success of
Watermelon Man. It was quite by chance that Chick
Corea was leaving the band and Rogers Grant was
joining the band after a weekend. For the weekend
they needed someone to do a gig in a small Bronx,
NY bar. Jazz trumpet player Donald Byrd recommended
Herbie Hancock. After a rehearsal of the band,
Herbie told Mongo that he had a tune he thought
would be good for Mongo's forthcoming album. They
recorded Watermelon Man on the album and the
rest is history.