considered by many as -the motown of salsa,- fania records is probably the most transcendental label in the history of latin music. by bringing together the eclectic vision of dominican bandleader johnny pacheco with the business savvy of impresario jerry masucci, fania created a sound: the apex of tropical music, combined with the swing of big band jazz and the gritty vibe of american r&b. the label provided an artistic heaven for a young generation of musicians who were inspired to experiment with new musical formats. the albums recorded by willie colón, héctor lavoe, rubén blades and eddie palmieri from the early 70s to the mid- 80s went beyond the parameters of so-called -salsa- - taking latin music to unsuspected levels of sophistication. when you think latin soul you relate to a mélange of r&b and mambo rhythms intermixed culturally by and for the youth of america. it was 1974, and a brash youngster by the name of ralfi pagan walked into the offices of fania records and demanded to be heard. fania president jerry masucci allowed ralfi that opportunity, and ralfi auditioned for jerry right there in his office. it took only a few moments for masucci to realize that he was in the company of his newest recording artist, he put ralfi in touch with recording director, johnny pacheco, who hurried him into the recording studio for ralfi’s first fania recording session.
tagged >the latin motown<, fania is perhaps most famous for its recordings during the coming of age of salsa from the late 60s to the late 70s, when latin (often cuban) dance formats like rumba, guaracha, mambo, son and cha cha fused with big band american jazz and the gritty punch of us r&b in the unique melting pot of new york.
strut begin their programme of fania albums with a series entitled fania essential recordings, tracing the development of the many genres featured on the label from latin soul to boogaloo to descarga. the first instalment, >salsa explosion<, provides a handy introduction to the classic fania sound through some of the labels major artists including celia cruz, mongo santamaria, willie colon, hector lavoe, ray barretto and the daddy of the fania family, johnny pacheco.