El Maestro Pacheco

Johnny Pacheco will perform at the West Coast Salsa Congress, May 27

By Dena Burroughs
Published on LatinoLA: May 18, 2004

El Maestro Pacheco

Johnny Pacheco will be 70 years old next March. For about fifty of those years he has been busy making music and helping the Latin scene develop into what it is today.

Maestro Pacheco was born the 25 of March of 1935 in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic, the son of the musician and bandleader Rafael Asarias Pacheco. Rafael moved his family out of the island when Johnny was about 11 years old, under pressure from the then-in-command dictator Trujillo, who insisted that Rafael?s band, ?La Lira del Yaque? be renamed ?La Orquesta Generalisimo Trujillo?, which Rafael refused to do.

That is how Johnny Pacheco ended up in New York, where he continued to be influenced by the music on the airwaves from Cuba, which he would listen to on a short-wave radio just as he used to do back home.

Growing up in the Big Apple he studied music as well as electrical engineering, and fortunately, eventually saw more potential and a better future in his music. Once dedicated full time to it, he developed his skill and his relationships with other great ones such as Perez Prado, Xavier Cugat, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Celia Cruz, and so on.

Johnny Pacheco, the child who first got a harmonica from his father around the age of seven, became proficient in the use of the accordion, the violin, the saxophone, the clarinet, all sorts of percussion instruments, and became one of the top flutists of his era.

In 1964, along with Jerry Masucci, Pacheco founded the very successful Fania Records label, and a few years later became the musical director of the famous Fania All Stars.

Today, Johnny Pacheco is a respected composer, arranger, bandleader and producer. Throughout his bright career he has accumulated important awards and recognitions, including nine Grammy nominations, ten Gold records and his induction to the International Latin Music Hall of Fame.

Next Thursday, May 27th, Angelenos have the opportunity to see Maestro Pacheco perform live at the Hollywood Park Casino, on the opening night of the 6th Annual West Coast Salsa Congress. The night?s activities will go on from 8 pm to 4 am, and the $25 tickets can be purchased either at, or at the door.

Johnny Pacheco is certainly ?a pioneer, an innovator and more importantly a living legend?. Take advantage of the opportunity to see 50 years of musical genius perform live right in front of your eyes!

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