It’s been a while since I last featured something from one of our favourite labels here on Gazfunk – the mighty Fania. This week’s selection is a track from one of the heavyweights of the label, Mr Johnny Pacheco.
Pacheco’s story was to start way back in his early years growing up in the Dominican Republic where his father’s career as a bandleader in the “Santa Cecilia Orchestra” had a profound influence on the young Pacheco. Upon moving to New York City at the age of 11, his interest in music grew further still where he learned to play saxophone, flute, clarinet, accordion & violin. His time at the Juilliard School of Music afforded him the opportunity to study percussion.
With all this experience then, it was little wonder when he joined forces with the legendary Eddie Palmieri’s latin orchestra before organizing his own orchestra – “Pacheco y Su Charanga” in 1960. The group were to last around 3 years, however during this time they became the first latin band to headline at the iconic Apollo Theatre.
Upon the breakup of his orchestra, Pacheco was to come together with Jerry Masucci to form Fania Records. It was to be at Fania where he was to enjoy huge success as the label went on to set the standard in latin music and became the face of the latin sound around the world. He wasn’t finished there though – 1968 saw the formation of the “Fania All-Stars” which featured at one time or another Larry Harlow, Bobby Valentin, Willie Colon, Mongo Santamaria, Ray Barretto, Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente & Joe Bataan. What a line-up that would’ve been to see live in their heyday!!