Olivencia (birth name: Ángel Tomás Olivencia Pagán
_ was born in the Villa Palmeras section of Santurce, Puerto Rico. His family moved to the city of Arecibo when he was just a child. There received his primary and secondary education. As a young man, he became fascinated with the trumpet and learned to play the musical instrument. In 1954, Olivencia sang and played the trumpet for local bands. He graduated from high school in 1957 and his family relocated once again to Santurce.
La Primerisima Orquesta de Puerto Rico
In 1960, Olivencia organized his first orchestra, which he named the "Tommy Olivencia y La Primerísima Orquesta de Puerto Rico". His band combined swing and melodic styles together. This combination, plus a strong brass contingent in the band was his trademark. Olivencia signed a contract with Inca Records and remained with that label until 1978. In 1972, he had his first major "hit" with Secuestro
(Kidnapped) and followed that hit with Juntos de Nuevo
(Together Again) in 1974 and Planté Bandera
in 1975.Olivencia's band was also known as the "Tommy Olivencia School", because the band produced some of the best and most talented singers and musicians of salsa in the island. Among those to have belonged to the band at one time or another were: Chamaco Ramirez, Sammy "El Rolo" González, Simon Perez, Paquito Guzman, Ubaldo "Lalo" Rodriguez, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Marvin Santiago, Frankie Ruiz, Hector Tricoche, Carlos Alexis, Hector "Pichie" Perez, Paquito "Junior" Acosta and Mel Martínez.