José Montserrate Feliciano García was born
September 10, 1945 in Puerto Rico. He was born permanently blind due to
congenital glaucoma. At five, his family moved to Spanish Harlem, New
York City and, at age nine, he played on the Teatro Puerto Rico. He
started his musical life playing accordion until his grandfather gave
him a guitar. He reputedly sat by himself in his room for up to 14 hours
a day to listen to 1950s rock albums, classical guitarists such as Andrés
Segovia, and jazz players such as Wes Montgomery. He later had classical
lessons with Harold Morris who earlier had been a student with Segovia.
At 17, he quit school to play in clubs, having his first professional,
contracted performance in Detroit.
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