Craft Latino Unearths Lone Full-Length From Café

The 1974 album will be re-released on August 9.

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Cover: Courtesy of Craft Latino

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.

Sí Dame Tu Amor

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This reissue is part of the Fania 60th anniversary year-long celebration honoring the iconic label’s enduring legacy and the birth of salsa music.

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).

Order Café.

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