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ORQUESTA FAJARDO Y SUS ESTRELLAS . FAJARDO LLEGO A MIAMI (SIRENA LP-US 124)







01 GLORIA A BENNY MORE
02 CHA CHA CHA DEL DIABLO
03 FAJARDO Y SU FLAUTA
04 ERES ASI 
05 MIRA QUE LOS TIEMPOS CAMBIAN
06 SOL RE DO
07 DOS PERLAS
08 YO TE ENSEÑARE
09 AÑO 1963 
10 FLOR DE AMOR
11 BARCO SIN PUERTO





José Antonio Fajardo, 18 October 1919, Cuba. Band leader, arranger, 

composer and producer Fajardo is one of the greatest Cuban flute 

players. He organized a flute, strings, rhythm section and voices 

charanga band which he called his All-Stars. In the course of his long 

career, he played a prominent role in the 50s’ cha cha chá fad, early 

60s’ charanga/pachanga craze and 70s’ charanga revival. Prior to 

forming his own band, Fajardo did stints with female singer/band leader 

Paulina Alvarez (b. 1912, d. 1965) and Arcaño Y Sus Maravillas.

In 1956, Fajardo released Cuba (aka Cuban Cha Cha Chá) on the Tico 

Records label, which featured revered conga player Tata Güines (b. 

Federico Arístides Soto, 1926, Güines, Cuba). He signed with Panart 

Records and issued a string of albums on the label during the late 50s 

and early 60s. His early Panart releases emphasized the popular cha cha 

chá rhythm, which was developed by violinist-composer-arranger-band 

leader Enrique Jorrín while he was a member of Orquesta América. 

Fajardo and his band appeared at the prestigious Tropicana nightclub in 

Havana. In 1959 he was invited by the US Democratic Party to play at 

New York’s Waldorf Astoria hotel for John Kennedy’s presidential 

campaign. His All-Stars caused more commotion with the Latino community 

than with the Democrats and an engagement at New York’s famous 

Palladium Ballroom quickly followed.

After the Cuban revolution, Fajardo left Cuba in 1960 to settle in 

Miami, USA. Violinist/composer/arranger Félix Reina inherited his band, 

which was renamed the Estrellas Cubanas, and the flautist’s position 

was filled by Eddy Zervigón, who went on to co-found Orquesta Broadway 

in 1962. Meanwhile in 1960, the massive popularity of Charlie 

Palmieri’s Charanga ‘La Duboney’, featuring Johnny Pacheco on flute, 

sparked off a charanga boom which was dominated by the fast pachanga 

rhythm created by Cuban composer Eduardo Davidson. Pachanga fever 

started in New York with the success of Afro-Cuban singer Rolando La 

Serie’s version of Davidson’s ‘La Pachanga’ from his Sabor A Mi, on 

which he was accompanied by the brass and saxophone-led big band of 

Bebo Valdés. The song topped the Farándula chart for a couple of months 

in 1960. In its wake, a string of other pachanga compositions appeared 

over the next few years. Fajardo promptly responded to this new trend 

by including an interpretation of the much covered ‘La Pachanga’ and 

Davidson’s pachanga ‘Pancho Calma’ on his 1961 Panart release Fajardo 

And His All-Stars Vol. 6. The major label Columbia Records eventually 

picked-up on the fad and signed him for Mister Pachanga in 1962. He 

also recorded Sabor Guajiro for them. However, by 1964 the 

charanga/pachanga craze had run out of steam.

A Fajardo accompanist for many years, Osvaldo ‘Chi Hua Hua’ Martínez 

(b. c.1920, Cuba, d. early 80s, New York, USA; güiro/timbales) went on 

to work with Mongo Santamaría, Félix ‘Pupi’ Legarreta, Sonny Stitt, Ray 

Barretto, Kako, the Alegre All-Stars, Johnny Pacheco, Willie Bobo, Don 

Gonzalo Fernández, Mike Pérez, Israel ‘Cachao’ López, Julito Collazo, 

Lou Pérez, Javier Vázquez, among others; he recorded the classic Latin 

jam sets Descarga Cubana Vol. 1 (1966) and Latin Cuban Session Vol. 2 

(c.1967) on Fonseca Records (which were both collected on the CD 

Descarga Cubana in 1991); and co-led Orquesta Metropolitana on New 

Horizons (1980). Fajardo maintained two charangas in 1963, one in New 

York and the other in Miami. He eventually tired of commuting and 

disbanded his Miami band, but retained Sonny Bravo (b. Elio Osacar 

Jnr., 7 October 1936, New York, USA, of Cuban parentage; 

pianist/arranger) for his New York outfit. In 1964, he issued the fifth 

and final volume in Panart’s legendary Cuban Jam Session series. In 

1965, Fajardo decided to relocate to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Bravo left 

at this point and later became a founder member of Típica 73. In 1966, 

Fajardo hired the young classically trained Cuban violinist Alfredo De 

La Fé and in 1974 recruited Afro-Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodríguez to the 

quintet he was leading in Miami.

Fajardo signed with Harvey Averne’s Coco Records and released a series 

of four albums on the label between 1975 and 1978. Although his quintet 

was pictured on the sleeve of the first, Fajardo Y Sus Estrellas Del 

75, the Miami recorded album featured a 14-piece charanga with five 

violins, including brother Alberto. Fajardo found himself amid a 

resurgence of the charanga sound which occurred in the second half of 

the 70s. Rodríguez departed and Sonny Bravo returned to session on 

1977’s Selecciones Clasicas, which contained remakes of earlier hits. 

Ray Barretto co-produced this album and handled the entire production 

of El Talento Total in 1978. Fajardo switched to Fania Records for four 

releases between 1980 and 1984, which included two collaborations with 

Johnny Pacheco. Rodríguez regards the relationship between Fajardo and 

Pacheco as being akin to teacher and pupil: ‘Everybody knows Pacheco 

because of the selling of albums, and because of the Fania thing, but 

Fajardo is the master and Pacheco is the student’. De La Fé sessioned 

on all of Fajardo’s releases between 1977 and 1980, and Chi Hua Hua 

appeared on Las Tres Flautas and Pacheco Y Fajardo. In addition to 

recording as a band leader, Fajardo sessioned with an impressive list 

of Latin names, including Israel ‘Cachao’ López, Louie Ramírez, Fania 

All Stars, Alfredo Valdés Jnr. and José Mangual Jnr.

Tomado de Oldies.com




Jose Fajardo
flautista y director de orquesta cubano, José Fajardo, 

falleció en Nueva Jersey, víctima de un ataque cardiaco. Su última 

presentación en Puerto Rico fue en febrero de 1999, como atracción 

estelar del espectáculo “La pachanga se baila así” que produjo Joe 

Quijano. EL RECONOCIDO flautista y director de orquesta cubano, José 

Fajardo, falleció en Nueva Jersey, víctima de un ataque cardiaco. Su 

última presentación en Puerto Rico fue en febrero de 1999, como 

atracción estelar del espectáculo “La pachanga se baila así” que 

produjo Joe Quijano.
 (Extracto de www.salsajazz.com por Jaime Torres 
Torres)