Johnny Pacheco was a legend in Latin music. Dominican born musician, arranger, composer, producer, and bandleader of Cuban Music. He is 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 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-year involvement with the development of Latin music, Johnny Pacheco has 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, Rene Hernandez, Tito Puente, Dioris Valladares, The Rascals, George Benson, Woody Herman, Marlena Shaw, Stan Kenton, McCoy Tyner, Johnny Lytle, Eroll Garner, Johnny Mandel, Max Roach, Jimmy Smith, Dick Hyman, Armando Peraza, Carlos Valdez, Conti Condoli, Bob Rosengarden, Shirley Scott, Kenny Burrell, Mongo Santamaria, Alegre All-Stars, Hugo Montenegro, Maynard Ferguson, and as needed for "The Tonight Show' Orchestra with Johnny Carson, under both Skitch Henderson and Doc Severensen.
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. In addition, 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.
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
Willie Colón, original name in full William Anthony Colón Román, (born April 28, 1950, Bronx, New York, U.S.), American trombonist, composer, bandleader, and activist who helped to popularize salsa music in the United States in the 1970s.
Born into a Puerto Rican household and raised in a predominantly Puerto Rican neighbourhood 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 years old. 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.
With the 1975 song “El cazanguero,” Colón began a lengthy partnership with vocalist Rubén Blades. Their album Siembra (1978) became the top-selling title in the catalog of its record label, Fania, and it remained one of the most popular salsa recordings into the early 21st century. Colón and Blades parted ways in the early 1980s but reunited several times during the next two decades for well-attended concerts.
Meanwhile, Colón maintained an active
recording schedule with his band Legal Alien and with various collaborators, including Cuban salsa singer Celia Cruz, versatile Venezuelan vocalist Soledad Bravo, and rock musician David Byrne. In the late 1990s Colón took a break from recording, although he continued to concertize extensively. He returned to the recording scene in 2008 with the release of El malo vol. II: Prisioneros del mambo.
Throughout his career Colón was 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 U.S. 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.
As their recording careers progressed, both Colon and Blades became upset and frustrated with the treatment they received from Fania record executives. They left the label, despite Blades' remaining contractual commitment to another three albums, and Colon's to another six. After disappointing experiences with both the RCA and Sonotone labels, however, Colon returned to Fania in the late 1980s to produce the last two albums for which he was obligated. He collaborated again with Celia Cruz on The Winners, released in 1987, and in 1988 released Top Secrets, which included his hit single, "El gran varon." Colon also produced Hector Lavoe's last album, Hector Lavoe Strikes Back. Despite their claims to the contrary, however, it later became clear that the relationship between the two artists had deteriorated dramatically.
Beginning in 1989 and running into the mid-1990s, Colon worked for the Sony label as both an artist and a producer, releasing three solo albums, American Color in 1990, Honra y cultura in 1991, and Hecho en Puerto Rico in 1993. Although he was increasingly discouraged by Sony's lack of promotion for his efforts, Colon was persuaded to take part in a Sony project that reunited him with longtime collaborator Blades. That album, Tras la tormenta, released in 1995, was an artistic disappointment, largely because the tracks of each were recorded separately and later merged in the recording studio. They didn't even get together for the album cover photo session.
In the latter half of the 1990s, Colon moved his home base to Mexico City, recording for Azteca Records there and later appearing for a time in a recurring role in the television Azteca telenovela (soap opera), Demasiado Corazon. A CD by the same name was a big success in Latin markets and was later released in the United States. Although he had chosen to live in Mexico City, Colon remained keenly interested in American political developments, and he returned frequently to the land of his birth.
In addition to their passion for music, Colon and Blades shared a profound interest in politics. In 1994, both men ran unsuccessfully for office in their respective countries. Blades fell short in his bid for the presidency of Panama, while Colon failed to win the Democratic nomination for New York's 17th District congressional seat but received 46% of the vote. Both men have used their music as a vehicle for their political philosophies. Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza banned Colon's songs in that country in the 1970s, and Colon has been arrested a number of times in Latin American countries for his outspoken views.
In 1993, after performing at President Clinton's inaugural festivities, Colon was invited by Clinton to join the president's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. He turned down the invitation so that he could devote his full attention to his bid for the congressional seat.
Colon reunited once again with Blades in the fall of 1998 for a smashingly successful concert at La Carlota Airport in Caracas, Venezuela--more than 140,000 tickets were sold. His political consciousness was aroused by the controversy surrounding the American military's use of Vieques, an island off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, for bombing practice.
In 2001 Colon mounted a campaign for public advocate in New York City. In the end, he threw his support to former opponent Betsy Gotbaum, who won the job in a runoff election in October of 2001.
Away from the concert hall and political arena, Colon enjoys a quiet family life with his wife Julia and their four sons. Among his interests are flying and computer programming. His contribution to Latin music--and more specifically the unique sound of salsa--has been immeasurable.
In addition to serving as a visiting professor and receiving honorary degrees for music and humane letters at various universities, in 1991, Colón received Yale University's Chubb Fellowship.
In 1999, Colón was a member of the Jubilee 2000 delegation to the Vatican, along with Randolph Robinson of Trans Africa, Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs, Bono from U2 and Quincy Jones. This initiative received Pope John Paul II's endorsement and later prompted President Clinton to forgive the US portion of the debt owed by some developing countries. Jubilee 2000 resulted in the forgiveness of a total of $100 billion to debt-ridden countries.
In September 2004, Colón received the Lifetime Achievement Award from The Latin Recording Academy. Over the course of his career, he has collaborated with notable musicians such as the Fania All-Stars, Héctor Lavoe, Rubén Blades, David Byrne, and Celia Cruz. Siembra, his record with Rubén Blades, was the best selling album for its genre. Colón was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 200.
In 2006, Colón was portrayed by actor John Ortiz, along with Marc Anthony's Héctor Lavoe in the biopic El Cantante, also starring Jennifer Lopez. The movie is about the life of Héctor Lavoe and it covers his achievements with Colón as the top salsa duo from the 1960s through the mid-1970s.
In 2010, The "International Trombone Association" bestowed their Lifetime Achievement Award upon Colón. In their journal they went on to say, "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.
On October 7, 2011, Westchester Hispanic Law Enforcement Association
recognized Colón for his social and community activism and support.
In 2015 Billboard magazine named Willie Colón one of the 30 most influential Latin Artists of All Time.
On May 12, 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.
On October 31, 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.
He was awarded the prestigious Muse Award by the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2019.
Colón has served as the chair of the Association of Hispanic Arts.
Colón has appeared as an actor on a number of Films and TV programs including "It Could Happen To You," "Vigilante," "The Last Fight," "Demasiado Corazon," "Miami Vice," "The Cosby Show," His music has appeared on dozens of films and TV programs including "Carlito's Way," "Empire," "Ballers," "Barry," "La Intrusa," "Next Day Air," "Piñiero," "Oliver & Company," "Grand Theft Auto" (game), "El Cantante," "Chef," "Runaway Bride," and others.
Ray Barretto (April 29, 1929 – February 17, 2006) was a Grammy Award-winning Latin/Latin jazz musician of Puerto Rican ancestry.
Ray Barretto, a percussionist extraordinaire and legend in the Salsa & latin Jazz music community has left the music scene with his death in February 2006 at age 76.
Born of Puerto Rican descendence in Brooklyn during the depression, he lived with his mother in East Harlem, The South Bronx and other "boricua" districts before he joined the army, where in the latter 1940's he heard Dizzy Gillespie's hard bebop. The young man was transfixed by Dizzy Gillespie - Manteca," which featured conguero Chano Pozo.
He started sitting in at a Munich jazz club, and after his discharge, by the early 50's he had bought his own Cuban Cnga drum and was playing regularly at clubs like The Bucket of Blood. Soon Mambo was the rage, and Barretto eventually started playing with Tito Puente in 1957, replacing the famed Mongo Santamaria.
He became a band leader on his own by 1961, and had a big hit with his group Charanga Moderna and their boogaloo dance craze single called "el Watusi" in 1963 that was the first Latin record to hit the Billboard top 20, and went Gold.
Barretto is credited by some for bringing the African Conga drum into popular music, and had a crossover appeal that transcended the genre boundries of mainstream music categories. He gained recognition beyond the Puerto Rican music scene, ex. played on many Blue Note albums.
He beacme associated with the Latin label Fania in the 1960's and played for three decades in the popular ensemble called the Fania All Stars alongsde Willie Colon, Ruben Blades and others.
His 1972 album, "Carnaval", is considered a masterpiece amongst latin Jazz afficianados with the songs "Cocinando Suave" and his interpretation of Gershwin's "Summertime".
Highlights of Barretto's run with the Fania All Stars were their tours of spots like Panama, Puerto Rico and Zaire where they played to 80,000 in Kinshasa before the Ali-Foremen fight. Undoubtedly their sell out concerts at N.Y's Yankee Stadium in 1973 & 1975 would have to be included as well.
In 1975 and 1976, Barretto earned back-to-back Grammy nominations for his solo albums "Barretto" (with the prize-winning song "Guarere") and his double "Barretto Live…Tomorrow". By 1976, although he had stopped performing & touring with his live salsa orchestra, he was regularly voted Best Conga Player in music magazine annual polls. He became interested in jazz fusion forms, and pursued this musical passion despite it's lack of commercial appeal. Barretto felt restricted by the Salsa scene, it's conventions and strict danceable format, and did not like the tag Latin Jazz either.
He teamed with singer Celia Cruz in 1983 for the first of several albums, finally winning a 1990 Grammy with her for their 1989 song "Ritmo En El Corazon". In 1992, he formed the ensemble New World Spirit, and was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1999.
He had recently been named best
drummer in the 2005 DownBeat poll, and received the NEA's 2006 Jazz Masters Fellowship before his health declined. His recent albums "Taboo" (1994), "My Summertime" (1998) and his final album 2005's "Time Was - Time Is" all received Grammy nominations for best Latin jazz performance.
Over the years he is said to have recorded more than 70 albums for numerous labels including Riverside, Atlantic, EMI, CTI, Fania, Tico, RCA Victor, Concord Picante, Prestige, Blue Note, Circular Moves, Sunnyside and his last for O+ Music.
Amongst his many musical collaborators included Cannonball Adderly, Joe Farrell, Wes Montgomery, Cal Tjader, Charlie Palmieri, George Benson, Lou Donaldson, Dizzy Gillespie, José Curbelo , Adalberto Santiago, Steve Gadd, Hector Lavoe, Yusef Lateef, Gene Ammons, Red Garland, Ray Vega, Oscar Hernandez, Tito Gomez, and even Little Miami Steven Van Zant's Sun City project.
At the time of his death in a New Jersey
hospital, he was in his late 70's, and had recently had several health setbacks including suffering asthma, compounded by heart attack, bypass surgery, pneumonia , a tracheotomy and just enough damned ailments to take Fuerza Gigante down.
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 was 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.
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.
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.
Today he continues to tour the world with Puerto Rico's legendary and beloved "La Sonora Ponceńa.
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
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.
in 2022 they are the protagonists of a feature film based on their lives titled "Los Reyes de la Salsa." The film is a featured contender in the Puerto Rican Film Festival and a number of upcoming Film Festivals in Latin America.
They continue to perform and tour separately and together to sell out crowds in both the Secular and Christian music markets.
Roberto Roena was born in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, in 1940. As a child, he performed with his brothers on the Puerto Rican television show "La Taberna India," where salsa orchestra leader Rafael Cortijo discovered him and recruited him to join his band in the late 1950s.
The “Cortijo y su Combo” band later became known as “El Gran Combo."
Roena left the orchestra in 1969 and founded the “Roberto Roena y Su Apollo Sound,” which became known as one of the best salsa music bands in Puerto Rico, as well as among fans in the mainland United States and Latin America.
In 1970, he recorded his first album with Fania, the leading salsa music record label at the time, after joining the widely successful Fania All Stars orchestra, which showcased some of the label's most talented musicians.
For decades, Roena captivated audiences with his bongó and other percussion instruments, as well as with his salsa dance moves.
With iconic songs like 'El Escapulario' 'Cui Cui', 'Mi Desengaño', 'Y Tu Loco Loco,' 'Marejada Feliz', and many others he transcended generations.
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."
Singer and salsa pioneer, Ismael Miranda was born in Aguada, Puerto Rico . He is often included in that select group of early salsa artists that performed what we now refer to as salsa vieja, or "old salsa".
By age 11, Miranda had formed various musical bands, demonstrating his great interest in music. Among these were the "Sexteto Pipo y su Combo" and "Andy Harlow y su Sexteto", where he sang and played congas. His debut recording was as a teenager in 1967 on "Let's Ball" with Joey Pastrana. His first hit song, "Rumbón melón" was from that album.
Andy's brother, Larry Harlow recruited Miranda into his orchestra and they recorded several albums together, beginning with "El Exigente". Harlow liked what he heard and the next year (1968) recorded "Orquesta Harlow presenta a Ismael Miranda", acheiving great success featuring Miranda. That led to a series of similarly successful recordings including "Electric Tribute to Arsenio Rodríguez", "Harlow"s Harem", “Abran Paso”, and “Oportunidad.
Miranda's experience with Harlow and his orchestra also afforded him the opportunity to try his hand at sonwriting. He composed several songs with Harlow, including "La revolución", "Guasasa", "Arsenio", "El malecón" and "Lamento cubano".
Miranda joined the Fania All Stars when he was only 19 years old, the youngest of any member, earning himself the title of "El Niño Bonito de la Salsa" or, "the pretty boy of salsa". These were the early, heady days of salsa and Miranda's debut album with his own orchestra, Orquesta Revelación, on the Fania label, could not have been better timed. The album was Así se compone un son, released 1973, with the title track a smash hit in Latin America, the United States and Europe, among other great songs. The next year saw the release of En Fa Menor, again with the title track En Fa Menor among other hits.
The hits continued for Miranda, with songs like "Borinquen tiene montuno", "La cama vacía", "La copa rota", " Como mi pueblo" and "Las cuarentas"; all widely played on the airwaves. His compositions also met with success with songs like "Señor sereno", "Abren paso", "Lupe, Lupe" and "Pa' Bravo Yo", made famous by the Cuban salsero, Justo Betancourt.
The 1980's saw Miranda record for his own independent label, including the highly successful "Versos de nuestra cultura" in 1986. Miranda was joined on that album of Christmas music by Puerto Rican singer and songwriter, Jose Nogueras, a popular singer that has recorded many such albums.
In the next decade, Miranda prematurely announced his retirement from music and then went on to record three highly popular albums with Andy Montrañez, featuring classic bolero tunes.
Over the course of his great career, Miranda has recorded more than 20 albums and performed with such noted artists as Nicky Marrero, Hector "Bomberito" Zarzuela, Renaldo Jorge, Ismael Quintana, Willie Colón, Ray Barretto, and Luis 'Perico' Ort
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 "Cachao" López was born in 1918 in Havana, Cuba, into a family of musicians. At least 35 family members played the bass, which became Cachao's primary instrument. He had a brother and sister, both of whom were musicians before Cachao was born.
As a young boy, López gained recognition as a performer. When he was 13 years of age, he joined the Havana Philharmonic, where he remained as a bass player for 31 years. While in his teens, he also became a member of the pioneering orquesta típica Arcaño y Sus Maravillas and worked as a bass player, composer, and arranger. His brother, Orestes López, served as musical co-director of the group.
Cachao introduced several new elements through his compositions into danzón, a Cuban ballroom dance in rondo form. In 1937 he and Orestes created what became known as the mambo. Gradually, the public accepted this general Africanization of Cuban music, and Afro-Cuban music emerged. Mambo played on Cuban radio for the first time in 1938. By 1939, with the addition of a conga drum to the ensemble, the Afro-Cuban structure of the mamba had solidified.
In 1957 Cachao again had a profound influence on traditional Cuban music when he introduced jazzlike jamming into the (until then) highly structured format of the traditional repertoire. López left Cuba in 1962, and for two years he lived in exile in Spain before moving to the United States. He settled in New York, where he worked with several of the leading Latin or salsa bands.
In 1983 López moved to Miami, but his
work on the cutting edge of professional music declined. In Miami, he played only at weddings, christenings, and bar mitzvahs for several years. In the 1990s, however, he became more active in recording and was featured in a documentary film made by Cuban American actor and former Miami resident Andy García. The film, entitled Cachao — como su ritmo no hay dos (Cachao: Like His Rhythm There Is No Other), focused primarily on the July 1992 tribute concert in Miami, but also explored López's role as an innovator in the development of Cuban music. Also in 1992, López played with other legendary Latin musicians on Gloria Estefan's Grammy-winning recording "Mi tierra." Later he played on the anthology Forty Years of Cuban Jam Sessions. In 1994 some of his compositions and arrangements appeared on the first of a multi-volume series called Master Session, Volume 1.
William Newton Calazans better known only as Rolando Laserie was born in Santa Clara, Cuba on August 27, 1923. Rolando learned to play the timpani at the age of 9. At the beginning of his professional life, he alternated his status as a musician with the trade of a shoemaker. He performed sporadically as a percussionist in the Santa Clara Municipal Band. Right there, at the age of 20, he performed with the Antonio Arcaño y sus Maravilla’s orchestra, replacing Miguelito Cuní.
In the heyday of Arcaño y sus
Maravillas, Laserie, as a singer, formed with other young people a musical group which they named Los Hijos de Arcaño, directed by Orestes García, which imitated the style of the famous danzonera. They copied the pieces that the orchestra played by ear through the radio and played them a few days later.
When the Arcaño orchestra with its singer Miguelito Cuní, whom Laserie was imitating, performed in Santa Clara shortly after, the boy joined them on the tour that took him through various cities in the east of the island until he reached Santiago de Cuba.
In 1953 he became a drummer for the recently founded Banda Gigante de Benny Moré. The following year he organized a musical group to perform as a singer at the Sans Souci cabaret with Blas Egües on drums, Rubén González on piano and Orlando “Cachaíto” López on double bass. They alternated in that nightclub with the famous Cuarteto D’Aida.
His great break as a singer came in 1956 in a recording studio, when the Álvarez Guedes brothers, owners of the Gema label, suggested that he make a single album with the Ernesto Duarte orchestra. One of the pieces chosen was the bolero Mentiras tuyas, by Mario Fernández Porta, which years ago had been performed by several singers –some of them famous, such as the tenor René Cabell– but which in those days was already considered an “out of circulation” number. Upon distribution, around 30,000 copies of Laserie’s version were sold in a few days.
After the success of his first single album (two pieces, one on each side), Laserie made new recordings backed by Duarte’s orchestra: he performed boleros such as Por eso no debe, by Margarita Lecuona; Tenia Que Ser Asi by Bobby Collazo; others by Julio Gutiérrez, and Osvaldo Farrés, as well Amalia Batista, by Rodrigo Prats and Buche Pluma Na Ma, by Rafael Hernández.
In his first full-length album, released in 1957, there is also a well-known tango that years later would become all the rage in Buenos Aires, when he sang it in his style: Las Cuarentas.
In 1958 he participated with the Duarte orchestra in a gigantic dance show at the Stadium of La Tropical along with Benny Moré and his Banda Gigante, Chappottín and his stars with Miguelito Cuní, and the Aragón, Sublime and Sensation orchestras with Abelardo Barroso.
The following year their second and third full-length albums appeared under the Gema label with the Bebo Valdés orchestra. Déjenme en paz became popular, which the composer Justi Barreto wrote especially for Laserie to respond to the attacks that his way of singing.
In 1960 a new album appeared with the Bebo Valdés orchestra that was entitled the hit of the moment: Sabor a mi, by Álvaro Carrillo. That same year he went to Mexico to fulfill contracts with the Televisa company and at the Terraza Caribe nightclub.
In 1961 he recorded in the United
States with the Tito Puente orchestra (LP Pachanga in New York) and in Puerto Rico with Cortijo y su combo and Ismael Rivera.
In 1965 he settled in Venezuela, sang with the Porfi Jiménez orchestra until he formed his own group.
(Press ^ Here)
Rolando Laserie sings “Sabor a Mi”
He performed in almost all of Latin America. He made numerous recordings in Mexico for the Musart firm with various orchestras, including those of Memo Salamanca, Nacho Rosales, Ernesto Duarte (at that time based in Mexico) and Pepe Vallejo’s Sonora Veracruzana. He also recorded with the mariachis Guadalajara and Oro y Plata; the Los Aragón group, the Johnny Ventura combo, the Johnny Pachec, Charlie Palmieri, Porfi Jiménez orchestras and the Cabrerita Caracas Selection with arrangements by René Hernández and Pepé Delgado.
In the late 1970s, he settled in Miami, Florida where he passed away on November 22, 1998.
Throughout his career he recorded more than thirty full-length albums. One of his last recordings was the son montuno by Israel “Cachao” López entitled El guapachoso, composed in his tribute and included on the CD Cachao Master Session Volume II (Los Angeles, California, 1995.
Andy grew up in a musical environment. His parent's home in Brooklyn, New York was always filled with music of all kinds. His father, Buddy Harlow, was an accomplished string bassist and Orchestra leader. Andy began studying piano at an early age and switched to woodwinds while in Junior High School. By the time he was in High School, Andy was already playing professionally in the New York City area. Andy attended New York University where he earned a Bachelor's degree in Music Education and a Master's degree in EthnoMusicology. He studied saxophone with James Abato and Joe Allard. He also received another type of education by paying his dues as a sideman in the orchestras of Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, Ismael Rivera, Xavier Cougat, Machito and Joe Cuba while attending New York University.
Andy taught for the New York City school system while his reputation as an outstanding Latin Jazz instrumentalist and arranger grew. This eventually landed him a recording contract with Fania/Vaya Records, and a membership in The Fania All Stars super Salsa band.
Andy's first LP, "Sopressa La Flauta" contained the monster hit "La Loteria" which topped the Latin singles charts for twelve weeks in both New York and Puerto Rico. This lead to his first of many Latin American tours with his own group "Latin Fever". Three more LP's for Fania produced more hits such as "La Musica Brava", "Tin Tin Deo", "El Campesino"and "No Qe Va a Llorar".
Andy's musical travels brought him to Miami in the late 1970's, where he continued his success as a Latin/Salsa artist. His group performed at all the local clubs and hotels. His composition and recording "Calle Ocho" became the theme song for the now world famous festival held yearly in March, and the record quickly rose to the top of the local radio charts. Using Miami as a home base, Andy and his new Miami band, "Salsamania", continued touring the U.S. and Latin America.
Andy soon found himself involved with local civic, community and government organizations. This lead to a series of musical presentations for local school children, community Hispanic festivals and as a regular in a series of free concerts sponsored by P.A.C.E. (Performing Arts for Community & Education). The group has also done many college concerts and Salsa/Latin Jazz workshops throughout Florida. Andy and his brother, Larry Harlow, finally recorded together in 1988 and "Salsa Brothers" was the result.
Andy hosted a weekly Salsa/Latin Jazz radio show for seven years on WDNA-FM and in 1992 was voted Miami's best Salsa radio show by Miami New Times newspaper's readers poll. He took the show world wide and from 1992 to 1994 he produced and hosted "Salsa Caliente" on the Becker Worldwide Satellite Network. At the same time, Andy began writing music and concert review for the Miami New Times and for Salsaweb internet magazine. 1999 saw the debut of Andy's "La Musica Brava" internet radio show on http://www.eyeqradio.com/. He hosted this live weekly two hour show of latin jazz, classic salsa and Cuban music until December 2000 and then moved the show to a pre-recorded 24/7 "on demand" format at Lamusica.com. In June 2000 "La Musica Brava" moved to it's current site, Andy's own website http://www.andyharlow.com. The show attracts a loyal audience of listeners worldwide.
Andy also kept busy in the Miami recording scene, playing as a sideman and soloist on hundreds of sessions while at the same time he expanded his music and entertainment business "Andy Harlow Orchestras" since he is constantly being called upon by major hotels, convention planners, cruise ship lines, corporations and civic and non-profit organizations to provide an array of talent and services for all types of functions. Andy represents many local and international artists and bands. His company's reputation for personalized service and integrity has been the main reason for its' growth and longevity.
Andy's busy schedule keeps him on the run. Local and out of town engagements with "Salsamania" and guest soloist appearance at Latin Music Festivals all over the globe keep him moving. Recently he has been seen and heard playing sax and flute with his brother's Latin Legends Band at various gigs throughout the U.S.A. and abroad.Yet, with all the travel, studio gigs, local preformances and business obligations, he still finds time for family, friends, composing, arranging and planning for future projects.
Johnny Hernandez is a Mexican American "Chicano music legend." Johnny Hernandez was part of the Chicano music movement with legendary The Latinaires and multi-Grammy winning Little Joe Y La Familia.
He and his brother Little Joe, changed the way traditional regional Mexican music was viewed and performed. The Chicano soul filled horn accentuated music, filled the southwest, changed the socio political climate in the late 60s as their song, "Las Nubes" became the anthem for migrant workers Cesar Chavez's United Farm Workers movement.
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 eight 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.
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."
Johnny continues steadily performing throughout California, Texas, Southwest US, Chicago, and he even headlined a outdoor Latino Festival at NY's Lincoln Center.
Johnny is also an author of a well-received book on his childhood life and experiences the endearing and triumphant "The Cottonpicker - An Odyssey."
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.
Born in Camagüey, Cuba in 1944, multi-percussionist Orestes Vilató is one of the most influential figures in the world of Latin percussion. His unique style on the Cuban timbales is one of the most emulated in the genre, and his artistry has graced the stage and recording studios with a Who’s Who of musical legends, from Aretha Franklin to Carlos Santana.
As a pioneer of the East Coast Salsa phenomenon, Vilató played a seminal role with such musical institutions and artists as the Fania All Stars, Ray Barretto, Rubén Blades, Celia Cruz, Johnny Pacheco and many others. After 25 years in New York, Orestes found new musical opportunities in Northern California as a member of the Santana band, forging a road into the Latin Rock genre, and as a result, his virtuoso percussion work would become a main fixture with numerous national and international artists, covering a range of styles from authentic Cuban music to Latin jazz, Salsa, Rock and beyond.
In 1995, Orestes earned a Grammy nomination for the groundbreaking album Ritmo y Candela alongside fellow Cuban percussion legends Carlos “Patato” Valdez and José Luis Quintana “Changuito,” and has graced the Grammy-winning albums of Cuban bassist/composer and original Mambo King Israel “Cachao” López. Since relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1981, Orestes maintains his place as one of the most in-demand percussionists on the planet.
As a young boy in Cuba, Orestes was encouraged by his father to pursue his passion for music, turning his first instrument
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
Fran' Ferrer is undoubtedly one of the most important and influential figures of popular music in Puerto Rico of the past five decades.
As a musician and music producer, he founded the music groups Frank Ferrer y Los Magníficos; Frank Ferrer • Puerto Rico 2010; Frank Ferrer • Puerto Rico 2013 and Descarga Boricua.
An independent visionary, Ferrer has always utilized his love for the island and his highly political views to meld together tipico (typical) Puerto Rican music with social political activism.
Professionally, Fran’ begins his musical journey in his hometown of Ponce, with his group Los Magníficos who played at the Hotel Meliá and the Ponce Intercontinental Hotel.
1965 - His first recording titled Los Magníficos was for the Irmar label. That year Fran’ and Los Magníficos played at the famous Hotel Reforma in D.F., Mexico City. In Puerto Rico, Fran’ and Los Magníficos played at the San Juan Hotel & Casino, specifically at the Hunca Munca, the preferred night club of the Puerto Rican jet set. Likewise, at Armando’s Hideaway in Condado, the place where prestigious singers of the likes of Sammy Davies, Jr. and Tito Rodríguez stopped after hours.
1966 - He records with Los Magníficos a second production titled Downtown under the Gema label.
1967 - The third production to hit the market was titled Frank Ferrer y Los Magníficos for the Marvela label.
1968 - Frank Ferrer, Caras nuevas y ritmos nuevos en Puerto Rico for RCA Victor. The singers of the Sexteto de Joe Cuba, Jimmy Sabater and Willie Torres join in the chorus of the boogaloo and the shingaling. It is with this production that Fran’ begins to sing.
1969 - Fran’ founded the Group • Puerto Rico 2010 and recorded his first production titled Cuánto te amo under the Hit Parade label.
At the onset of this decade, Fran' Ferrer begins his career as a record producer.
1971 - Fran’ produces singer-songwriter Noel Hernández’ record titled De rebelde a revolucionario for the label Disco Libre.
1972 - Fran’ records with his own music group Fran Ferrer-Puerto Rico 2010 the
production titled Hemos dicho ¡Basta! for his Taíno label. Fran’ participates with his group Fran Ferrer Puerto Rico 2010 at the Mar y Sol Pop Festival held in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, in which featured international rock groups and artists of the stature of the Allman Brothers, Billy Joel, Alice Cooper, Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Osibisa (African Group), among others. In the book titled ¡Qué te parece, boricua!, author, Papa Lino, writes the following: "The spectacular rock performance of Puerto Rican Frank Ferrer in the Vega Baja Mar y Sol Festival, earned him a record contract with Atlantic Records."
1974 - Fran’ records Aleluyah under the Alhambra label.
1975 - He produces poet-singer Antonio Cabán Vale (El Topo) Las manos del campo, a joint production of his Guanín label and Fania Records.
1976 - Fran’ begins his career a music producer with the event La Noche de nuestra música featuring ―for the first time ― together on stage the best interpreters of the old and new trova, among them: the brothers Ramos, Ramito, Moralito and Luisito, Chuíto de Bayamón, Lucesita Benítez, Tony Croatto, Roy Brown and Guayacán.
1977 - He produces and presents Tierrazo... La noche de nuestra música at the Felt Forum in the Madison Square Garden. Fran’ produces for his Guanín label Canción para los amantes, the second recording of Antonio Cabán Vale (El Topo).
He launches his solo career as singer with Fran' Ferrer Yerbabruja, a joint production of his Guanín label and Fania Records. In the words of music critic Hiram Guadalupe: “Through these productions “Fran' Ferrer establishes himself as the definitive precursor of Rubén Blades’ socially conscious salsa, and uses salsa to get to popular consciences through Afro-Antillean rhythms mixed with rock and jazz.
1979 - Fran’ produces Concierto Mayor de los Soneros, dedicated to Ismael Rivera. It featured the outstanding participation of Héctor Lavoe, Rubén Blades, Cheo Feliciano, Ismael Miranda, Pete "El Conde" Rodríguez, Justo Betancourt, Luigi Texidor and Ismael Rivera. This concert was held at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum and was recorded and videotaped live.
During this decade, Fran' Ferrer, consolidates himself as a musician; moreover, he embarks as a record producer and founds his Tierrazo label, through which he makes several recordings of historical importance. He also creates Producciones Frank Ferrer which conceptualizes and develops important shows, events and popular festivals. Producciones Frank Ferrer becomes a key factor in the development of music projects ranging from the new song to jazz.
1980 - Fran’ launches the Tierrazo label under which he produced historical recording including De los Trece Tres ― Música para todo el año with Ramito, Moralito and Luisito; Simplemente Lalo with Lalo Rodríguez ―the importance of this production lies in the fact that all the tracks became hits, a truly historic event in the music industry; the classic Creceremos with Lucesita Benítez; El sueño del Maestro with Rafael Cortijo; Con un Poco de Songo and En Aquellos tiempos with Batacumbele, and Glenn Monroig with singer-songwriter Glenn Monroig. That same year Fran' produces Concierto Mayor de Los Soneros II, dedicated to Tite Curet Alonso. The concert was held on Friday, November 14, 1980 at the Roberto Clemente Coliseum, with the participation of Ismael Rivera, Cheo Feliciano and Héctor Lavoe. Special attractions were Willie Colón and Rubén Blades. Worth noting is that this was the triumphant return of Rafael Cortijo with singers Ismael Rivera, hijo and Fe Cortijo. That night, star guest, Lucesita Benitez debuted as a salsa singer. A recording of this concert was made for Noche de Gala, at the time, Telemundo’s top televised music show.
1981 - Fran’ produces De Brasil al Caribe, a concert with Airto Moreira and Flora Purim that was presented at the Teatro Tapia in Old San Juan. Then, in collaboration with Tite Curet Alonso, produces Aquí se puede, a recording made in Los Ángeles, California. In October, Fran’ presents the Festival de Jazz Tierrazo at the Centro de Bellas Artes in San Juan, Puerto Rico with Irakere, Batacumbele, Dave Valentín, Freddie Hubbard, Koinonía con Abraham Laboriel, Justo Almairo y Alex Acuña; Dizzy Gillespie, Jorge Dalto, Maynard Ferguson; plus, “el encuentro del siglo” (the encounter of the century) with Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaría, Carlos ‘Patato” Valdés y Tata Güines. In November of that year, Fran’ produces―with outstanding success―the Festival de Trova Iberoamericana. Internationally renown artists such as singer/songwriters Joan Manuel Serrat, Silvio Rodríguez and Pablo Milanés, from Spain and Cuba respectively, plus Antonio Cabán Vale (El Topo) and Roy Brown from Puerto Rico participated in this festival held at the Centro de Bellas Artes in San Juan. The festival was recorded live and a dvd was produced.
1983 - Fran’ launches the production titled Fran’ Ferrer •Puerto Rico 2013 with Van Lester as guest singer, interpreting songs by Tite Curet Alonso and Frank Ferrer.
1984 - In the summer of that year, Fran’ collaborates with the Ministry of Culture of Spain, under the direction of Javier Estrella, in the music event titled Llegó la Salsa, in which Rubén Blades y Seis del Solar debuted in Spain. Tito Puente and Celia Cruz, among other artists, also participated.
Fran’ produces Cumbre Criolla which was presented at the Festival Interamericano de las Artes, held at the Centro de Bellas Artes in San Juan. The show was later presented at the Albergue Olímpico in an event called Navidad Olímpica. Due to its resounding success, J. R. Reynolds sponsored a tour of this concert in 10 cities throughout Puerto Rico. Later, a cd and a video of this production were recorded at the Experimental Station of the University of Puerto Rico. Participating artists: Lucesita Benítez, Wilkins, Antonio Cabán Vale (El Topo), Roy Brown, Mapeyé, Andrés Jiménez, Taller Boricua and Joaquín Mouliert with his group Ecos de la Montaña.
1989 - Fran’ launches the second record production titled Frank Ferrer • Puerto Rico 2013 Banda’llá with Van Lester as lead vocalist.
1991 - Ferrer presents Cumbre Flamenca at the Teatro Tapia in old San Juan. Some of Spain’s leading and most respected flamenco dancers and dance companies featured in this show.
Fran’ produces Soy la Voz, the first album with Van Lester as soloist, for the RMM label in co-production with Ralph Mercado.
1993 - Fran’ Ferrer joins the stream of international orchestras made of "All Stars" and creates Descarga Boricua for his Tierrazo label. He produces three double cds and one single cd; the first one titled ¡Ésta sí va!
1996 - Fran’ produces Abrázate, the second cd of Descarga Boricua for the RMM label.
1999 - Fran’ produces Somos Uno for the RMM label. This cd included, among other tracks, the song Somos Uno, anthem of the 1993 Central American and Caribbean Games held in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
The new millennium finds Fran’ Ferrer residing in Spain, where he collaborates with the Escuela Superior de Imagen y Sonido, directed by Francisco García
Romero, and with Arenalia Comunicaciones, S.A., the prestigious public relations agency presided by Óscar Iñiesta Terré.
2004 - Fran’ puts himself to the task of making a selection of the best and most defining recordings of his musical career and produces Pa’que te cuento, a compendium of 4 cds that consists of 44 theme, in which many of Puerto Rico’s most prominent and representative musicians and singers stand out for their remarkable performances.
2005 - Fran produces the cd and dvd titled Yo protesto of singer/songwriter Roy Brown. This production was filmed at the MAPR (the Puerto Art Museum and at the University Puerto Rico. Guest musicians and singers are: Danny Rivera, Andy Montañez, Andrés Jiménez, Tony Croatto, Zoraida y Tato Santiago, Rucco Gandía, Fiel a la Vega and Atabal. As his special contribution to this musical project, Silvio Rodríguez recorded in Havana Roy Brown’s Sal a Caminar.
2007 - Fran’ produces Salseando a music event held at The Palace in Old San Juan with stellar performances by Hermán Oliveras, Adalberto Santiago, Tito Allen, Ray de la Paz, Frankie Vázquez, Wichi Camacho y Dalver García. Guest musicians: Larry Harlow, Jimmy Bosch y Jimmy Sabater, under the musical direction of Louis García. J.R. Reynolds sponsored this production of which a double cd and a dvd of the same name were recorded live.
2008 - In March Fran’ produces Concierto en Homenaje a Juan Antonio Corretjer en su Centenario (1908-2008), which was presented at Theatre of the University of Puerto Rico.
2011 - In January, Fran’ presents himself―to a full house in the historic Teatro Tapia in Old San Juan―, along with the original members of the group Puerto Rico 2010 and other musician friends in a spectacular concert homage titled Fran’ Ferrer • Puerto Rico 2010: Un hombre, una nación, una época (Fran’ Ferrer • Puerto Rico 2010: A Man, a Nation an Era). Fran’ was rendered recognition for his music trajectory of 47 years. The concert was sponsored by Palo Viejo, rum distributed by Destilería Serrallés.
At present, Fran' is working, both in San Juan and New York, in the conceptualization of several musical and film projects.