Called the “Frank Sinatra of Latin Music.” Tito Rodriguez is one of the 1950’s Mambo eras “Big Three” (the other two being Machito and Tito Puente). Tito was equally adept at swinging big band Latin or Ballads.
Born in Santurce, Puerto Rico, Tito Rodríguez moved to New York in 1940 when his parents died. Tito soon got a job playing percussion in Xavier Cougat’s band. In 1947 he formed his own dance band, Los Diablos del Mambo. He enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music to study vibraphone and percussion and later renamed his band the Tito Rodríguez Orchestra. In addition to his instrumental talents and leadership, Rodríguez’ satin voice and impeccable phrasing made him a popular singer in the 1950s.
His rivalry with Tito Puente was particularly intense, as commemorated in the song, “Avísale a Mi Contrario Que Aquí Estoy Yo" (Tell My Rival That I’m Right Here). Of the two prodigiously talented Titos, some fans preferred Rodríguez for his voice, while others thought Puente the better arranger and timbalero and the two bandleaders fought over top billing when they shared dates at venues like the Palladium Ballroom.
Rodríguez succumbed to leukemia at the relatively young age of 50 after headlining at Madison Square Garden.
Top songs in Mr. Rodriguez’s publishing and writer repertoire include:
Avisale A MI Contrario - Tito Rodríguez
El Que Se Fue - Tito Rodriguez
Sun Sun Babae - Tito Rodríguez
A Llegado La Hora - Tito Rodríguez
Tu (El) Panuelo - Tito Rodríguez
Claves For Mambo - Tito Rodríguez,
La Vendedora De Amor - Tito Rodríguez
Negras Cenizas - Tito Rodriguez
Mango del Monte - Tito Rodríguez
Johnny Pacheco (1935 -2021) was and is a legend in Latin music. Dominican born musician, arranger, composer, producer, and bandleader of Latin Music.
He is was one of the most influential figures in Latin music, best known for being the creator of the Fania All-Stars and Co-Founder of Fania Records, and for arguably coining the term "Salsa" to denote the genre.
Pacheco is widely recognized as a salsa pioneer and innovator and is a 9-time Grammy nominee and was awarded the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award by The Latin Recording Academy in 2005.
For decades, Johnny Pacheco has been at the center of the Latin music universe. His nine Grammy nominations, ten Gold records and numerous awards pay tribute to his creative talent as composer, arranger, bandleader, and producer.
Moreover, he is the pioneer of an
unforgettable musical era that changed the face of tropical music history, the Fania All-Stars era. Throughout his 60 plus year involvement with the development of Latin music, Johnny Pacheco received many kudos for his extraordinary genius.
A little-known aspect to Johnny Pacheco's career is the fact of his being one of NY's most in demand recording studio musician's in the 1960's and 70's, recording on Billboard number one pop hits, Melanie's "Brand New Key," and Eydie Gorme's "Blame It On The Bossa Nova." He is a musician on recordings by Ethel Smith, Ernestine Anderson, Rene Hernandez, Tito Puente, Dioris Valladares, Eydie Gorme, The Rascals, George Benson, Astor Piazola, Woody Herman, Melanie, DLG, Herbie Mann, Marlena Shaw, Stan Kenton, McCoy Tyner, Tico All-Stars, Johnny Lytle, Eroll Garner, Johnny Mandel, Max Roach, Jimmy Smith, Les McCann, Esquivel, Dick Hyman, Charlie Palmieri, Armando Peraza, J.J. Johnson, Carlos Valdes, Conti Condoli, Bob Rosengarden, Shirley Scott, Kenny Burrell, Mongo Santamaria, David Byrne, Gaitanes, Milton DeLugg, Banchee, Alegre All-Stars, Hugo Montenegro, Maynard Ferguson, Ozomatli, Mangu, Aljadaqui, and as needed for "The Tonight Show” Orchestra with Johnny Carson, under both Skitch Henderson and Doc Severensen, The Steve Allen Show and Merv Griffin Shows.
In November of 1998, he was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame. In 1997 he was the recipient of the Bobby Capo' Lifetime Achievement Award, awarded by NY Governor George Pataki. In 1996 the president of the Dominican Republic, Juaquin Balaguer bestowed him with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Honor.
Pacheco was presented with the First International Dominican Artist Award from the distinguished Casandra Awards. In June 1996, Johnny Pacheco was the first Latin music producer to receive the NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences) Governor's Award in New York City. In 2004, Johnny received ASCAP's prestigious Silver Pen Award. In 2013, his album with Celia Cruz "Celia & Johnny" (1974) was selected as one of the recordings to be added to the Library of Congress National Registry of Sound Recordings.
His recent passing on February15, 2021 at the age 85, was world news on all major news outlets around the world.
The outpouring of love and admiration for this musical genius was shared by the greatest names in the genre and the person on the street. We will always strive to keep his memory alive as well as his music and persona which will last forever.
RIP QEPD El Maestro Johnny Pacheco.
Among the many classic songs in Mr. Pacheco’s writer and/or publisher repertoire are:
Mi Gente - Héctor La Voe, Fania All-Stars
Quitate Tu - Fania All-Stars
Macho Cimarron - Fania All-Stars
El # 100 - Tito Puente
Acuyuye - Johnny Pacheco
El Guaba - Celia Cruz
Tararea Kumbayea - Celia Cruz
Estrellas de Fania - Fania All-Stars
El Rey De La Puntualidad - Héctor La Voe
Celia y Tito - Celia Cruz & Tito Puente
Coro Miyare - Fania All-Stars
El Guiro De Macorina - Pacheco y Su Charanga
Celebrando El Numero Cien - Richie Ray y Bobby Cruz
Willie Colón is a legendary trombonist, composer, bandleader, arranger, singer, actor and social activist who helped to popularize salsa music in the United States in the 1970s. His achievements as a trombonist, singer, composer, arranger, producer, have been internationally recognized. During his 50 years in the music business, his talents have earned numerous awards and a worldwide fan base exceeding 5 million followers on social media.
Born into a Puerto Rican household and raised in a predominantly Puerto Rican neighborhood of the Bronx, Colón was immersed in the arts and culture—and the hardships—of urban Hispanic America throughout his childhood and youth. This environment was a powerful force in shaping his career, both as a musician and as an advocate for various Hispanic causes.
His formal music education began when his grandmother gave him a trumpet and paid for lessons when he was 12. He shifted his focus to trombone at age 14, and when he was 17, he made his recording debut with El Malo (1967; “The Bad One”). The album was an early example of the New York sound, a trombone-driven movement in Latin music that fused Caribbean rhythms and arrangements with lyrical popular-music styles. Such stylistic blending would characterize Colón’s work throughout his career. El Malo also featured Colón’s first collaboration with legendary Puerto Rican vocalist Hector LaVoe, a partnership that would endure through the mid-1970s and yielded numerous hit songs, including “I Wish I Had a Watermelon,” “La Murga,” “Todo Tiene Su Final,” “Juana Peña,” “Calle Luna, Calle Sol,” “Abuelita,“ “Che, Che, Cole,” “El Día De Suerte,” and many other hits.
As a songwriter he has been responsible for evergreen Latin hits among them, “Aguanile,” “Ah, Ah O No,” “Abuelita,” “La Murga,” “El Todopoderoso,” “El Malo,” “Ghana E,” “Juancito,” “No Me Llores Mas,” “Pan y Agua,” “Si La Ves,“ “Sin Poderte Hablar,” “Todo Tiene Su Final,” “Juana Peña,” “Calle Luna, Calle Sol,” “Che, Che, Cole,” "Asia," “El Dia De Suerte.”
Colón has had numerous hits as a solo artist including the Gold and Platinum Latin albums “Solo” and “Fantasmas,” included hits like “Sin Poderte Hablar.” Other huge hits as a solo artist include ”Idilio,” Talento de Televisión,” and the groundbreaking international mega-hit “El Gran Varón” among others.
He has had various collaborations throughout his career, including a number of hit albums with The Queen of Latin Music, Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz, which included the international hits “Usted Abusó,” and “Dos Jueyes” during the 70’s and 80’s. In 1978 after a number of successful albums together, singer-songwriter Rubén Blades collaborated with Colón in their album ‘Siembra’ (which became one of the most popular and biggest selling albums in the salsa genre) and “Tras La Tormenta” (1995); in the 70’s he had a featured project with Fania legends, Hector LaVoe & Yomo Toro in his perennial production ‘Asalto Navideño’ (Vol I and II); versatile Venezuelan vocalist Soledad Bravo; salsa star Ismael Miranda which included “No Me Digan Que Es Muy Tarde Ya” (1980); Puerto Rican singer Sophy in her production “Salsa en New York” (1983); and rock new wave musician David Byrne in the album ‘Rei Momo’ (1989).
In the late 1990s Colón took a break from recording, although he continued to tour extensively throughout Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
Mr. Colón has also appeared as an actor in a number of major motion pictures and TV programs in the US and South America.
Throughout his career Colón has been a champion of Hispanic political and social causes, such as those concerning immigration and the availability of affordable health care and insurance. He wove political messages into much of his music, and in 1993 he performed at Pres. Bill Clinton’s inauguration ceremonies. In addition, Colón held positions of leadership in numerous cultural and humanitarian organizations. In 2004 the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences awarded him a Grammy for lifetime achievement. In 2016: He began his 50th Anniversary Tour to Puerto Rico, Colombia (Several Cities), New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Tampa, Mexico (Several Cities) and has broken box office records in many venues. The tour because of its success is continuing throughout 2018 and 2019.
In 2018, The Ellis Island Honor Society awarded Willie Colón the Ellis Island Medal of Honor which are presented annually to a select group of individuals whose accomplishments in their field and inspired service to the nation are cause for celebration. The Medal has been officially recognized by both Houses of Congress as one of our nation's most prestigious awards and is annually memorialized in the Congressional Record.
In addition in 2018, Willie Colón was awarded the "Lunas Del Auditorio Award" by El Auditorio Nacional. A recognition granted by the National Auditorium to the best live shows in Mexico , the award is a replica of the sculpture of La Luna by sculptor Juan Soriano that is outside that enclosure. This award is transmitted by Televisa, TV Azteca, Channel 22 of the Ministry of Culture and Channel Eleven of the National Polytechnic Institute.
In 2019, Willie Colón was inducted into the prestigious Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Quotes About Willie Colon:
In 2015, Billboard Magazine
named “Willie Colón one of the 30 most influential Latin Artists of All Time.”
"Willie Colón is one of the essential gods of Salsa mythology, perhaps the most essential of the entire pantheon."
New York Times:
“Most rock and pop stars whose names are known in every household would be delighted with record sales of such magnitude.”
International Trombone Association: ”Willie Colón has probably done more than anyone since Tommy Dorsey to keep the trombone before the public. Stylistically they are poles apart, Dorsey representing an ultra-smooth approach, Colón a Hard-edged roughness reportedly inspired by Barry Rogers. Unfortunately, Colón's public is largely Latino, so his music and contribution have gone unnoticed or ignored by the general press"- Gerald Sloan, professor of music University of Arkansas.
John Storm Roberts:
“Though the adulation given Colon's early recordings is fully justified, it has the unfortunate side-effect of blinding people to his equally fine recent recordings. Yet aside from the fact that he'd turned himself into an excellent and very individual singer, the recordings he made just before his political ambitions took over are by any measure outstanding.”
"Colón was to the history of Latin music what Don Drummond was to Jamaican ska and J.J. Johnson was to jazz."
“Willie is a gifted producer… a talent on the order of Quincy Jones and Stevie Wonder… his music moves with Ellingtonian swing and grace.”
Larry Harlow Pianist, Producer, Arranger, Bandleader, was a living legend of Afro-Cuban Salsa music. Born in Brooklyn, New York, his early influences were his father Buddy, a professional bass player, and his mother Rose, an opera singer. A graduate of the prestigious NY High School of Music and Art, he excelled on oboe, flute, bass and the instrument that he is most famous for the piano. Although jazz and the stylings of Art Tatum were his first love, his growing exposure as a teenager to the music and culture of the New York Latino community fascinated him. This led to a trip to Cuba in 1957 where he began a two year intense study of Afro-Cuban music in all of its manifestations; from West African based liturgical repertoire to popular dance styles. Upon his return to New York he quickly made a name for himself as a top bandleader and was quickly signed by the new Fania Record Company, the most important label in the history of Latin music. “El Judio Maravilloso”, as he was affectionately known, completely revolutionized what is known today SALSA, developing the explosive trumpet / trombone sound of the contemporary Latino bands of the time and innovating in adding electric clavinet and fender rhodes pianos to traditional Latin recordings and live performances.
Harlow studied audio engineering at the Institute of Audio Research in NYC in the early 1970’s and became one of the leading Latin record producers in the world. For Fania Records alone he produced more than 250 albums for various artists and over 50 albums as a leader, including the Grammy nominated masterpiece, “La Raza Latina, a Salsa Suite” in 1978 which was the first serious treatment of the genre; tracing the music’s diaspora and evolution from West Africa to Southern Spain, through the Caribbean and eventually New York City. The first Latin opera ever written entitled “Hommy” with lyrics penned by Henny Alvarez was performed to standing room only crowds for two shows each at Carnegie Hall and Coliseo Roberto Clemente in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He also co-produced, wrote music for and starred in “Our Latin Thing” and “Salsa”, two of most the definitive documentaries on Afro-Cuban based music in New York City.
Harlow as the first Grammy Governor from the world of Latin music in the NY Chapter of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS), was responsible for making the organization take notice of the contributions of Latin music. He was instrumental in helping to establish the first Latin category in the Grammy Awards "Best Latin Recording" which eventually led to increased Latin music categories and the establishment of the separate Latin Grammys as well.
He was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2000 and received a Lifetime Achievement Latin Grammy in 2008. Larry held a BA in Music from Brooklyn College and a Masters Degree in Philosophy from the New School of Social Research in New York City. He regularly performed with a variety of lineups and formations, most notably the Latin Legends.
Harlow recorded and performed with many artists including as member of the internationally famous Fania All-Stars, Stephen Stills, Janis Ian, Stevie Wonder, Mars Volta, among others.
Among classic songs he has written are "Arsenio," "Gracia Divina," "Cari-Caridad," "Es Un Varon," "La Raza Latina.
Born in Puerto Rico in 1941, Valentín was taught guitar by his father before he even entered school. By the age of 11, he'd won a contest with a band he led and began studying alto sax and then trumpet at the Jose Quinton Academy of Music in Coamo. Just 15 when he moved to New York in 1956, Valentín settled in Washington Heights and continued to study trumpet both at school and with legendary brass teacher Carmine Caruso. He also learned on the streets, playing with different trumpet trio including jazz player Art Farmer and classical trumpeter Louie Mucci. Valentín also formed a band with Chu Hernandez and Joe Quijano named Los Satelites, then began playing professionally in 1958 as a part of Quijano's new orchestra.
Earlier in the '60s, Valentín had contributed arrangements for label founder Johnny Pacheco, so it was only natural he record for Pacheco's new label as well. Even though Valentín moved back to Puerto Rico with his orchestra by 1968, he made frequent trips back to New York to record for Fania during the late '60s and early '70s. He also began working closely with the label's in-house all-star band, the Fania All-Stars, contributing arrangements and anchoring the sound with his bass (after 1970, he rarely played trumpet) on classic mid-'70s LPs, like Live at the Cheetah, Live at Yankee Stadium, and Tribute to Tito Rodriguez.
In 1978, Valentín began recording for his own label, Bronco Records, and triumphed with La Boda de Ella, one of the most important releases of his career. Though his connection with the Fania All-Stars continued into the '90s, Valentín organized a stable of great artists around Bronco, including Willie Rosario and Orq. Mulenze. Even aside from his globetrotting orchestra, he remained a busy arranger around both Puerto Rico and New York, working on material by Willie Colon, Ismael Miranda, Gilberto Santa Rosa, Cheo Feliciano, and Justo Betancourt, among others.
Among the classic songs in Mr. Valentin’s writer and/or publisher repertoire are:
La Boda De Ella - Bobby Valentin
Quiero Boogaloo - Bobby Valentin
Quitate Tu - Fania All-Stars
Mi Ritmo Es Bueno - Bobby Valentin
Punto Com -Bobby Valentin
Soy Boricua - Bobby Valentin
Te Vas A Arrepentir - Bobby Valentin
El Gato - Bobby Valentin
Massa Massa - Bobby Valentin
Enrique Arsenio Lucca Quiñones, better known as Papo Lucca, is a Puerto Rican multi-instrumentalistbest known for his pianist skills. His main musical genres are Salsa and Latin Jazz. He ranks with the late Charlie Palmieri, as one of the best piano instrumentalists in Latin Jazz and Salsa.
He is the co-founder with his father Don Enrique "Quique" Lucca Caraballo of the Puerto Rican band La Sonora Ponceña. He has also played and recorded with the Fania All-Stars, Hector Lavoe, Willie Colón, Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco, Bobby Valentín, Ismael Quintana, Gloria Estefan, Adalberto Santiago, Andy Montañez, Pablo Milanés, and Rubén Blades.
He is also a well-known music arranger.
Rubén Blades has called Papo Lucca, "the best pianist in the world."
Cuban pianist Ruben Gonzalez explained, "of non-Cuban pianists, I most admire [Lucca] because his salsa is very close to son. Son piano is more varied than salsa piano which is more formulaic and holds on to a single riff much longer."
With his dynamic piano playing and unique approach to salsa, Papo Lucca has led his band, La Sonora Ponceña, to the forefront of Latin music. Inheriting the group from his father, Lucca has continued to inspire La Sonora Ponceña with his innovative playing. Lucca has been involved with music most of his life. A native of Ponce, a city on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, he began studying at the city's Free School of Music at the age of six. In addition to being trained in solfeggio, he studied piano, clarinet, saxophone, and music theory. A month after he enrolled in the school, he performed a classical piece on a local radio station. Lucca simultaneously studied privately with pianist Ramón Fernández.
With his father's encouragement, Lucca advanced quickly. Performing with La Sonora Ponceña at the age of eight, he made his recording debut three years later, when the group accompanied bolero vocalists Felipe Rodriguezand Davilita on their album, Al Compas De Las Sonoras. At the age of fourteen, Lucca began an "official" member of La Sonora Ponceña
Throughout the 1950s, Lucca remained active as a musician. In addition to playing solo piano on a television show hosted by Ruth Fernández, he recorded with Obdulio Morales, Orquestra Panamerica, and Machito. Despite his busy schedule, Lucca found time to continue his formal studies. Graduating from the University of Puerto Rico, he went on to study at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music. His first opportunity to showcase his talents came in 1976 when he co-produced La Sonora Ponceña's album, Musical Conquest/Conquista Musical, with Louie Ramirez. Two years later, he produced the group's album, Explorando, on his own.
Although he's remained committed to Sonora Ponceña, Lucca has balanced his involvement with a variety of outside projects.
Lucca became the pianist with the Fania All-Stars in the 1970's replacing Larry Harlow who was concentrating on producing and his own orchestra.
Together with La Sonora Ponceña, he collaborated with influential Latin vocalist Celia Cruz on an album, La Ceiba, and appeared with Cruz in a television documentary, Salsa. The same year, he performed on an album, Habana Jam, along with the Fania All-Stars, which was recorded during a concert in Cuba. Lucca also recorded a solo piano album, Latin Jazz, in 1993.
Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz are an American musical duo consisting of Ricardo "Richie" Ray and Roberto "Bobby" Cruz. The duo was formed in 1963 and rose to fame in the mid-1960s. They are one of the most famous interpreters of 'salsa brava' music. The duo is well known for helping to establish the popularity of salsa music in the 1960s and 1970s. They are also notable for fusioning elements of classical music and rock with traditional Latin music. Among their biggest hits were "Richie's Jala Jala", "Agúzate", "El Sonido Bestial", and "Bomba Camará". They are also famous for their christmas songs "Seis chorreao", "Bomba en Navidad", and "Bella es la Navidad".
The duo was popular from 1965 to 1974 throughout Latin America and the United States, specially in Caribbeancountries. In 1974, following a conversion to Evangelicalism and the inclusion of religious themes in the song's lyrics, the duo's popularity fell. The group continued releasing albums but broke up in the 1990s. In 1999, they reunited, and they have been touring and releasing new albums since then.
In November 2006, the Latin Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences gave Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Cheo Feliciano , (José Luis Feliciano Vega), Puerto Rican singer (born July 3, 1935, Ponce, P.R.—died April 17, 2014, San Juan, P.R.), was a salsa legend who enjoyed a more-than-50-year career with such hit songs as “Anacaona,” “Amada mia,” “Una en un millón,” “Mi triste problema,” and “Juan Albañil.” Prior to finding success as a singer, Feliciano performed as a talented percussionist. He started his own band at the age of about eight, fashioning the instruments from cans. After moving (1952) with his family to New York City, he played in the bands of Tito Rodriguez and Luis Cruz before performing (1957–65) as a vocalist for the Joe Cuba Sextet. Feliciano’s first recording for the sextet was the classic “Perfidia.”
His deep baritone was a rarity among salsa singers, and he quickly gained a following among fans who appreciated his quick wit and improvisational skills. A heroin addiction derailed Feliciano’s career in the late 1960s, but he returned to Puerto Rico, kicked the habit, and released his first solo album, Cheo (1972), which set sales records for Latin music.
He went on to record bolero music as well, and in 2012 he collaborated with Panamanian singer Rubén Blades on the salsa album Eba say ajá. Feliciano was the recipient of a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
The singer, who was diagnosed with a treatable cancer in 2013, died after crashing his Jaguar into a light pole.
The governor of Puerto Rico declared three days of national mourning.
Among his self penned classic songs are "Como Rein," "Si Por Mi Llueve, "and "El Raton."
Santos "Santitos" Colón a Legend.
A voice of gold.
Santitos became well known as a singer of boleros and Spanish language versions of English standards, often recorded with an orchestral backing signature song was "Niña." Santitos could sing anything from rabid mambos to the most tender of ballads.
A voice as smooth as silk.
Santos Colón was a long-time vocalist of Tito Puente's orchestra and was a member of the Fania All-Stars. His many solo hit albums are considered classics of romantic and lush orchestrations including "Niña" "Engreida" "Love Story" "Ay Cariño" "Mirame Más."
Israel Kantor, also known as Israel Sardinas, Wilfredo Israel Sardinas, (16 October 1949 – 1 July 2006) was a Cuban-born musician and composer who later lived and worked in the United States. Born 1949 in a town called Alturas de Canasi with the name Wilfredo Israel Sardinas, he grew up in Havana, Cuba. He gained popularity in the 1970s as a sonero, a singer of the Son cubano style of music. Early influences included music by Beny More. He joined with the world famous Cuban band Los Van Van in 1980 and toured globally with them, before leaving the group and moving to the United States in 1993.
Settling in Miami, Florida, he garnered support from Cuban exiles who had moved to Miami, Florida. While in New York City in 1984 he changed his name to Kantor as a reference to cantor, Spanish for singer, at the recommendation of colleague Johnny Pacheco. He recorded albums in the 1980s alongside musicians including: Sal Cuevas, Barry Rogers, Mario Rivera, and Sonny Bravo. His song "Ya Estoy Aquí" reached the number two top spot amongst popular music on Miami radio in 2002. Kantor joined the group Tropicana All-Stars in 2003, a twenty-piece orchestra band which performed tribute music hearkening back to the style of his early influence Beny More. The group's debut performance was on 18 May 2003 at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. While lead vocalist with the group, they received two Grammy Award nominations and two Latin Grammy Award nominations.
Kantor died of cancer in 2006 at his Miami home, survived by his wife. He was featured in the Iván Acosta directed 2005 documentary filmCómo se forma una rumba, which examined the influence of Cuban rumba on Cuban music.
Among his songs we represent are "Llegare," "Maria Antonia," "La Verdad," "Tu Lindo Pasado," "Rumberos de Nueva York," 'No Me Paren La Fiesta
If you are a 1st or 2nd generation Tex Mex Chicano you already know that Johnny Hernandez is a Southwestern musical icon.
He and his brother Little Joe worked 24 years together under the name of Little Joe and the Latinaires, and Little Joe Y La Familia. If you still don't know and consider yourself an American OG Chicano and you have never danced a polka, then you are culturally deprived.
Johnny has recorded over 50 albums with Little Joe, and has won countless awards as duo of the year, single of the year, and album of the year. In 2004 Johnny was inducted into the Tejano Roots Hall of Fame.
During the best time of my life gonzo travels with the Familia back in the day I learned that, "Texas is a beautiful place, and Tejanos are a beautiful race" and now that most of the statues of limitations are over, I've been fortunate to track Johnny down again and am happy to know, he has a new album and his voice is still as smooth as a Sedan De Ville.
Johnny said recently, "I went solo in 1985 and have continued to record 8 Tejano albums and have toured with my own band. I've decided on this my 9th solo project to record an album in English, entitled "This Time (Again)".
The title is taken from Johnny;s English crossover hit "This Time" recorded on the landmark Little Joe, Johnny and La Famila album "Para La Gente", the album that featured the Tejano national anthem, Las Nubes.
He said, "Except for 3 original songs, all of the selections are songs I grew up listening to when they were Top 40 hits or the underground radio blues. I was born in a predominately African American neighborhood and grew up listing to artist like Nat King Cole, Big Joe Turner, Ivory Joe Hunter, The Moon Glows, Chuck Willis, Jimmy Reed, and even the Ink Spots. The singers who have influenced me the most are, Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Stevie, Jarreau, Michael McDonald and, being from Texas - big respect - Roy Rogers the King of the CowboysÔÇ?.
"My impetus to sing on stage originally came from Jimmy Clanton. The Promoters would let me in to the Latinaires gigs free if I sat in with the band and sang "Just a Dream".
Johnny has recently relocated to LA as a base of operations in launching his English crossover effort.
He said, "LA is one of the Mecca cities of music in the world. I feel that my career can excel in the general market by networking and working closer with the music industry community. I'm really interested in exploring the Smooth Jazz genre."
"The highlight of my solo career so far has been to open for Herb Reed of The Platters in Las Vegas; it was a dream come true for me as I consider the Platters the best vocal group of their era."
"What I hope to accomplish with this new CD is to maintain the integrity of the original recordings of songs that have always really meant something to me, while giving each selection a modern sound with progressive chord structures embellished by today's studio technologies. On "Just a Dream" I stayed as close to the original arrangement as possible. I feel people will appreciate the sincerity of the artistic effort."
"I positioned the smooth Jazz/contemporary blues/fifties oldies song line up the same way I would while performing live. Start off with an up tempo upbeat dance tune, then slow the pace down, pick it up again, work towards the exciting big finish. We purposely recorded the songs a little longer than normal, so as to keep the groove going while people dance at family gatherings, parties, weddings, quinceanearas, etc. Sweet Home Chicago is getting major airplay and its really an English CD, but when I heard "Todo Me Gusta De Ti" it sounded like a Santana song that would give me the big finish I was looking for."
Look for it indeed. Johnny Hernandez is one of the true real artists of our times, he has given his life to music, he sings from the heart, he is a man with a sweet soul, and if you dont know, you need to ask somebody and if they don't know go out and buy the CD, then ya'll will find out what all the buzz is about. The CD entitled This Time (Again) is available at Wal-Mart and www.JohnnyHernandez.biz thru (Paypal) or: http://www.johnnyhernandez.biz/merchandise.html
About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Milton Cardona made well over 1000 recordings, nine of which won Grammies. His career and was highly influenced by Mongo Santamaria. He studied violin during his childhood in The Bronx, New York, and played bass guitar professionally in New York City as a youth before playing percussion. He collaborated with Kip Hanrahan, Spike Lee, Paul Simon, Willie Colón, David Byrne, Cachao, Larry Harlow, Eddie Palmieri, Don Byron, Celia Cruz, Guaco, Hector Lavoe, Ned Rothenberg, Rabih Abou-Khalil and Jack Bruce from the rock band Cream. He died on September 19, 2014, from heart failure.
Check out this great video of Tito Rodriguez.
Check out this great video of some of my friends and clients Johnny Pacheco, Willie Colon, Bobby Valentin on PBS.
Check out this great video interview with Salsa legend Larry Harlow.
Check out this great video of Bobby Valentin's Superhit "La Boda de Ella."
Check out this great video of late great Cuban legend Israel Kantor with Los Van Van.