UNVEILING THE LATEST ADDITION IN THE FANIA RECORDS 60TH ANNIVERSARY SERIES: RARE LATIN ROCK, FUNK AND SOUL GEM CAFÉ

UNVEILING THE LATEST ADDITION IN THE FANIA RECORDS 60TH ANNIVERSARY SERIES: RARE LATIN ROCK, FUNK AND SOUL GEM CAFÉ

Craft Latino dives deep into the Fania Records archives to bring a long-lost rarity, Café, to the hands of Latin rock, funk and soul fans. The 1974 album—which marked the sole full-length from the New York septet of the same name—was produced by legendary bandleader and percussionist Ray Barretto and released on the influential Fania imprint, Vaya Records. Now, 50 years later, Café will return to vinyl for the very first time—while the album will also make its debut on digital platforms.

 

Arriving August 9 and available to pre-order now, Café features all-analog mastering by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and is pressed on 180-gram vinyl. Rounding out the release is a tip-on jacket, replicating Café’s original artwork. Additionally, Café will also make its digital debut in standard and 192/24 hi-res audio. Plus, a deluxe Dynamite Red vinyl color exclusive (limited to 300 copies), with an exciting bundle option that includes a commemorative Vaya Records T-shirt is available for pre-order at Fania.com. This reissue is also part of the Fania 60th anniversary year-long celebration honoring the iconic label’s enduring legacy and the birth of salsa music. Visit fania.com/fania-60th to learn more.

 

 

***

 

In 1970, Fania Records founders Jerry Masucci and Johnny Pacheco launched Vaya Records: an imprint that would serve as a home to some of their most popular and innovative artists, including Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz, Mongo Santamaría and Cheo Feliciano. In addition to releasing numerous salsa classics, however, Vaya also allowed Masucci and Pacheco to branch out into other genres, including jazz, soul and rock.

 

Among those forays was Café: a New York City-based septet that offered an enticing blend of Latin rhythms with popular sounds of the era, including psych-rock, funk and soul. The group caught the ear of celebrated bandleader, percussionist and Fania All Stars musical director Ray Barretto, who—with eclectic hits like “El Watusi,” “Indestructible” and “A Deeper Shade of Soul”—was no stranger himself to musical exploration. It was a natural move, then, for Barretto to serve as producer for the band’s self-titled debut.

 

Comprised of Jeff Chaumont (vocals, bass), Julio Gonzalez (vocals, guitar), Daniel Zaremba (piano), Oscar Salas (drums), Nelson “Flako” Padron (timbales, congas), Ian Hilton (saxophone, flute) and seasoned trumpeter Ronnie Tooley (whose credits include projects for John Lennon and Yoko Ono, James Brown and Jaco Pastorius), the band was also joined by several esteemed guests. Among them was the award-winning trumpeter Luis “Perico” Ortiz (Tito Puente, David Bowie, Fania All Stars), saxophonist/flutist Justo Almario (the Commodores, Freddie Hubbard, Chaka Kahn) and saxophonist Hector Veneros (Eddie Palmieri, Mongo Santamaría, Fran Ferrer).

 

Together, they recorded 11 original songs in English and Spanish that channeled everyone from Blood, Sweat & Tears and the Doors to Santana and War. Among the Spanish-language highlights is the funky opener “Sí Dame Tu Amor” and the supremely groovy “Siempre Mas y Mas,” while the band delivers such English-language delicacies as the jaunty, piano-forward “My Chance Is Due” and the soulful, organ-based “Someday.” Another standout track is the six-and-a-half-minute instrumental “Search for Love/Identify Yourself,” in which the band segues from a dramatic piano and flute-based dirge into an explosive, high-energy jazz jam.

 

Fifty years later, Café sounds as fresh as ever and, most certainly, will prove that it’s never too late to be rediscovered.

 

About Fania Records’ 60TH Anniversary Celebration:

2024 marks the 60th anniversary of the legendary New York label Fania Records, one of the most significant Latin labels in the world, musically and culturally. In the ’60s, Fania was a pioneer in creating and spreading the sound of salsa music from New York City to the globe. In addition to salsa, Fania is the definitive home for genres such as Latin big band, Afro-Cuban jazz, boogaloo and Latin soul. Its roster of artists includes countless music legends, such as Johnny Pacheco, Willie Colón, Héctor Lavoe, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Ray Barretto, Cheo Feliciano and Rubén Blades, among many others. In 1968, the creation of the international supergroup known as the Fania All-Stars, a vital force in Latin music, established the label’s signature musical style, which became known as the “Fania Sound.” Today, Fania’s legacy is just as meaningful to Latin music as Stax and Motown to soul or Prestige and Blue Note to jazz. It remains a cultural beacon, illuminating a powerful American immigrant story that is as timely today as when the label launched. To celebrate Fania’s legacy on this special milestone, Craft Latino will release over a dozen remastered 180-gram vinyl reissues, over two dozen remastered digital albums, many of which will debut in hi-res digital, and a variety of content throughout the year, including curated playlists, artist spotlights and live events across New York, Los Angeles, Miami and London.

 

Click here to pre-order Café.

Click here to find the exclusive bundle including the Dynamite Red vinyl color exclusive with the commemorative Vaya Records T-shirt.

 

 

Café Tracklist (Vinyl)

Side A

  1. Si Dame Tu Amor
  2. Search For Love
  3. Search For Love/Identify Yourself
  4. I Like To Be With You
  5. I Got To Be Away
  6. Move and Groove

Side B

  1. But Once I Loved You
  2. Siempre Mas Y Mas
  3. Someday
  4. Don’t Let Me Cry Again
  5. My Chance Is Due

 

*Digital track list mirrors the vinyl.

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