I Remember Johnny Pacheco, one of the greats of Latin Jazz!

Johnny Pacheco sí fue “el padre” de la salsa | Verbien magazin
(Johnny Pacheco 1935 – 2021)

On the 15th of February of this year 2021 we lost one of the great, no, one of the greatest of Latin Jazz, Mr. Johnny Pacheco. He brought forth the Cuban “son”, the bachata, the salsa, the bolero, the charanga, the son montuno, afro-cuban jazz, mambo, guaracha and all manner of percussive jazz originating from New York and which worked the sounds generated by great musicians from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, among many others from the rest of Hispanic America, the United States and Europe.

Así fue la vida de Johnny Pacheco, el músico e impulsor del desarrollo de  los latinos en el mundo - Los Angeles Times

Pacheco was born in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic on the 25th of March 1935. He died in New Jersey of complications due to pneumonia, it was sudden and unexpected, according to reports I have read as he had to be taken urgently to hospital. Well, ashes to ashes, dust to dust, we are born, we die, no one can fight destiny, we cannot argue with death but we will surely miss him.

Muere Johnny Pacheco, cofundador del sello Fania Records, a los 85 años

I remember that being a High School lad in Miami, (Cuban community which was natural for a Spaniard), back in the seventies, I used to listen to a radio programme transmitted from New York which was dedicated to salsa and I got to know Pacheco, Celia Cruz, Hector Lavoe, Willie Colon, and all of the Fania Allstars. Fania was the record label which had all these great artists of salsa and Cuban music and Latin Jazz…

But Pacheco was an institution as he was a composer, arranger and mostly a band leader although he was also a very good flautist who played usually with the band onstage while directing the orchestra. His first recording was in 1960 and his last one was in 2005, so you can calculate how many recordings he was involved with. He also collaborated with some of the great names in Latin Jazz and Salsa like Celia Cruz, Rey Barretto, Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez, Willy Colon, Hector Lavoe, Adalberto Santiago and many others, like the great pianists Eddie Palmieri and Larry Harlow…

In any event, I always liked and admired him. Having spent so many years in Cuban Miami I really got into this music and still love it, so I really wanted to write something about this great musician that brought me so much joy and such listening pleasure. I leave you with one album, it’s hard to pick one, but no matter, they are all superb as one thing these guys always looked out for was quality. So I hope you enjoy and you tell me what you think.

Fallece Johnny Pacheco, creador y líder de Fania All Stars - La Vega News



  1. House of Heart · 11 Days Ago

    An amazing talent. Enjoyed the review.

  2. Brad Osborne · 10 Days Ago

    A true loss of a Maestro, but his music will inspire those that follow for generations to come! Great post, Francisco!

  3. azurea20 · 10 Days Ago

    Escucharé su música. Seguro que lo he escuchado alguna vez, pero ahora no lo recuerdo. Un saludo.

  4. Philip Edwards · 7 Days Ago


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