Artist picture of Johnny Pacheco

Johnny Pacheco

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Canto A La Habana Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz 05:31
Acuyuye Johnny Pacheco 02:33
Quimbara Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz 04:51
Ritmo, Tambor y Flores Celia Cruz, Justo Betancourt, Johnny Pacheco, Papo Lucca 05:32
Soñero Johnny Pacheco, Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez 04:16
Sonido Bestial Richie Ray, Bobby Cruz, Ricardo Ray, Héctor Lavoe 06:33

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As the founder of the legendary Fania Records, Dominican-American bandleader and nine-time Grammy winner Juan Azarías Pacheco Knipping (March 25, 1935), also known as Johnny Pacheco, played a great role in popularizing Latin music throughout the world. Born in Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic, Johnny Pacheco relocated to New York City at age 11 and learnt to play several instruments such as the accordion, violin, and saxophone before majoring in percussion at the Juilliard School. He made his debut in the late 50s as the lead arranger and co-director of La Duboney, a charanga (a type of traditional Cuban music orchestra) he formed with pianist Eddie Palmieri. Frustrated by the lack of recognition, Pacheco left the group and formed his own band, Pacheco y su Charanga, who helped popularize the pachanga genre among New York clubbers with their classic album Pacheco y su Charanga Vol. 1 (1960). The LP sold over 100,000 copies and helped cement the orchestra’s popularity, becoming the first Latin act to headline the Apollo Theater in 1962 and 1963. After releasing four albums with the group, Pacheco teamed up with lawyer Jerry Masucci to create Fania Records, an imprint that would serve as a launching ground for several salsa acts throughout the 60s and 70s. Throughout that time, the renowned bandleader delivered a series of classic salsa albums such as Cañonazo (1964), Viva África (1965), and Los Compadres (1972), and showcased the potential of his label’s roster through the descargas (Cuban-style jam sessions) of Fania All-Stars. He spent the next couple of years collaborating extensively with top-tier artists in the salsa world such as Celia Cruz, Justo Betancourt, and Papo Lucca, and produced music for the feature films Something Wild (1986) and Mondo New York (1988). A series of accolades ensued in the following years, including an induction to the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 1998 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002. On February 15 2021, Pacheco died in New Jersey at the age of 85.