Joe Quijano's CESTA RECORDS Inc
Joe Quijano is the proprietor the recording company, Cesta Records
which he formed in the 1960s. Joe was born on September 27, 1935, at Puerta de Tierra, Puerto Rico,
his family relocating to New York City in 1941. Over the years he has
contributed greatly to the development of Latin music in New York City.
Book Joe and his Orchestra
iBuenas Noticias! Una vez mas el conocido musico Joe Quijano esta disponible para amenizar todas sus actividades
en San Juan o en la isla.
El Conjunto Cachana, se compone de 11 musicos para su deleite, o si prefiere el sonido del
"Big Band" de antano para sus galas y convenciones, La Gran Orquesta de Joe
Quijano, cuenta con 20 musicos para tocarles la musica de ayer y de
Llamenos al: (939) 645-8930
Contact via web
Dear Music Lovers,
Good News! Renowned musician Joe Quijano is now available for all your social activities.
Dance to the music of El Conjunto Cachana, composed of 11 members. If you prefer the Big Band sound for your gala affairs
and conventions, The Joe Quijano Orchestra, with 20 musicians will delight you and take you back in time. Whether in San Juan
or the Island, we can be there!
Call us at: (939) 645-8930
Contact via web
JOE QUIJANO I
JOE ON YOUTUBE I
'NEW YORK WELCOMES BACK JOE QUIJANO'
This articles first appeared in the legendary publication LATIN N.Y. in September 1977.
This article is reproduced by permission of the original
publisher Izzy Sanabria.
The archives of
the magazine are held by its publisher Izzy Sanabria, aka, Mr
Salsa. You can find out more about this excellent Salsa Magazine
Joe Quijano's first gig was dancing on tables at Pelham Bay Park. He was six years old then, and his flair for performing brought him a few dimes and nickels from adoring spectators. Who would have thought that cute kid would grow up to be a smooth, sophisticated singer, orchestra leader, and record producer. Especially when Joe was formally educated at the High School of Industrial Arts.
Izzy Sanabria, who attended the same school, remembers Joe as a talented cartoonist. He notes: "It's interesting how some of the guys in art school went on to become heavily involved in music, such as myself,
Orlanda Marin, the timbale player, and Mike Collazo, drummer for
Tito Puente. Yet New York's creative pulse and commercial opportunity have beckoned many Latins into the world of music."
It's a small world, and the world of Latin music is even smaller. Everybody grew up in the same neighborhoods, went to the same schools, and faced the same obstacles together. As kids they fought whoever called them "spit," and as they grew older they fought for their music to be recognized. Some of those artists were particularly ambitious and enterprising- Joe Quijano is one of them.
As we sit in the "Asia, Numero Uno," where representatives of the Latin record world and the staff of Latin N.Y. converge to eat, we are constantly interrupted. Cross conversations are normal, but Joe's getting more action than usual. He's been away from the city for seven years, and there's lots of catching up to do. He wasn't in jail, but was running his own club,
Joe Quijano's Latin Lounge, in Puerto Rico.
"So, what's up Joe? What brings you back to the Big Apple?"
Most of the trade already knows Joe is back to produce records. He's set up shop at 850 7th Avenue, and has already cut his first LP, "Joe Quijano Presenta a Ray Cruz," on his own
Cesta Nueva Records label. He and his partner,
Larry Landa, have quite a few records slated for production, and are busy booking acts for clubs and developing new talent.
Joe is no fresh upstart in the business. Silver-haired, cool, and controlled, he's been in the game for a long time. He remembers when he used to produce records out of a closet and peddle them on the street. During Joe's absence the
Fania, Caytronics, Coco, and other empires have risen. The Latin Music Awards and the Grammys brought prestige and sophistication to Latin music and recordings. And
Joe Quijano has returned to play an old game with new style.
"Why did you leave Puerto Rico?" I asked.
"Although running a club meant a lot of good times, now that tourism has fallen off, the economy doesn't justify remaining there."
Ray Barretto across the room prompted me to say, "Latin music is evolving, taking off in all directions. Do you see yourself as an avant-gardist, or more traditional?"
Joe sips his sangria and reflects for a moment. "Well, I'd have to say traditional. As far as the crossover-it happened back when
Perez Prado recorded 'Cherry Pink' and the mambo became a craze."
"Yes," I said. "but that was a New York nightclub scene, and New Yorkers thrive on fads. Latin music never really became part of the American mainstream, and isn't that what 'crossover' is about?
"Sure, there's one man that could do it."
"I'm not saying."
Why this air of mystery? Joe Quijano is not a man to sound off. He doesn't volunteer information, or wear his heart on his sleeve. Perhaps, like many musicians, his sentiments come across most clearly in his music.
How did Joe go from art school to a career in music?
"A classical pianist used to board with us," he recalled, "back when I was growing up on Simpson Street in the South Bronx. When I was eight years old I listened to
Art Pancho Ramond's radio program of Latin music. I was always a 'ham,' and that's probably what led me to become a vocalist. My first work was with
Eddie Palmieri. We had a quintet: piano, bass, rhythm section and vocalist."
Joe formed his first orchestra in his early twenties. They played the Palladium, Grossingers, the Audubon Ballroom, and all the major hotels in the New York area. It was during those days that Joe got his lucky break. He recalls fondly the man responsible
Ernie Altshuler of Columbia Records.
"My orchestra was playing at the Spring Valley Country Club, and while I was hustling records I popped into Ernie's office and invited him to come see us. He told me he would, but when he actually showed up I was surprised. Ile was a big record producer, producing
Tony Bennet and Johnny Mathis at the time. That led to my recording with Columbia and MGM.
Looking over Joe's list of recordings I can see why he is cool about the crossover. Joe has a natural instinct for blending Latin sound with American tastes. "The Fiddler on the Roof Goes Latin," recorded by MGM, proved a popular success and many of his recordings possess that same commercial appeal. Meanwhile, he's been able to follow his own musical interests with his own label
Cesta Records, producing at least 10 LPs with his orchestra.
Joe spread his wings in the late 60's to appear in Panama and, later, Venezuela, making the carnival scene.
All this time Joe's orchestra was getting bigger, along with his name, and in 1971 he settled in San Juan for a six-month engagement at the
San Jeronimo Hilton Hotel with a 10-piece orchestra, five dancers, plus singers. These lavish productions led him to the
El San Juan Hotel for his review, "The Latin Trip".
With such a knack for organizing talent, and staging productions, it's no wonder Joe got the "club bug" and decided to run his own show. A performer with his own club has his own talent showcase, and can work whenever he wants. Now after six or seven years of "the good life," wife and kids, and taking inventory, Joe comes back to the Big Apple. He brings with him many years of musical expertise, commercial experience, and that drive that makes some people feel at home in New York.
Welcome home, Joe Quijano.
Outlets selling Cesta Records releases:
Discogs: Cesta Records at Discogs and Joe Quijano at Discogs
Musicstack: Cesta Records at Musicstack and Joe Quijano at Musicstack
CDandLP: Cesta Records at CDandLP and Joe Quijano at CDandLP
RecordsMerchant: Cesta Records LPs at RecordsMerchant and Joe Quijano LPs at RecordsMerchant
and Joe Quijano CDs at RecordsMerchant
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