Cesta Records Inc



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.


  • Classic salsa
  • Classic descargas, son montunos, guaguanco
  • Classic dance music

Book Joe and his Orchestra
La Gran Orquesta de Joe Quijano

Estimados Amigos,
iBuenas Noticias! Una vez mas el conocido musico Joe Quijano esta disponible para amenizar todas sus actividades sociales, sea 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 hoy. 
Llamenos al (787) 726-4621 (939) 645-8930
Contact via web

Joe Quijano El Conjunto Cachana

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 (787) 726-4621 (939) 645-8930
Contact via web

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Joe Quijano

'On my Lunch Hour'


My musical career started in 1950, when I was in Junior b High School, P.S. 52 in the Bronx. I joined a group of amateur teenage musicians - Orlando Marin (Timbales), Eddie Palmieri (Piano), Larry Acevedo (Congas), Albert (Nappy-Hair) Ramirez (Bongos), and I became Joe Baya, as Vocalist and Maracas.

We played our first gig at the Hunt's Point Palace (what is now a huge furniture store). After five hours, we were paid a dollar each, a dollar! As this was just the beginning of our career, we were ecstatic. We knew three tunes, "Abaniquito", "La Toalla", and Rafael Hernandez's "El Cumbanchero'; which we repeated all night.

About a year later, we added three trumpets, Louis Robles, Larry Acevedo and Claude, and we became the Orlando Marin Conjunto, with Mandin and me on vocals. We played as assortment of places: The Sunnyside Gardens, St. Anthanasuis Church (on Tiffany Street in the Bronx) and The Tropicana Club, booked by Federico Pagani. He gave us a break and we made $10.00 each, big money in those times. We also played funky places like the PAL Gym, and P.S. 52...the band was HOT!

Back in those days in the Bronx, our neighbors were such greats as Machito, Tito Rodriguez (Roger's Place), Manny Oquendo (Kelly Street), Tito Puente (163rd Street), Chicky Perez (Tiffany Street) and the Palmieri's (Home Street). We all had three things in common - our love for music, our heritage and our culture.

When Orlando Marin, our leader, was inducted into the Army, I inherited the band and we began to play in the Catskills, Grossinger's, Young's Gap, and Pine Hill Lodge in New Jersey.

While at Manhattan's High School of Industrial Arts studying commercial art, I worked part-time at the Trans-Lux Corporation. My boss and dear friend, Douglas Sterling Paddock, let me take "My Lunch Hour" whenever there was an orchestra rehearsing around the corner on 53rd Street and Broadway. This was the original Palladium Ballroom, The Home of The Mambo.

In 1956 I worked out a great deal with Douglas. On my vacation (a trip to Cuba), I would represent Trans-Lux and its products (projectors and photographic slides) for television. I made two sales, one to CMQ TV, the other to Gaspar Pumarejo. During the rest of my two weeks vacation, I went to see all my favorite bands. I met Benny More, Roberto Faz, Abelardo Barroso, Miguelito Cuni, Jose Fajardo, Celia Cruz, with La Sonora Matancera, La Orquesta De Los Hermanos Castro (no relation to the other Castros) and a rehearsal of Orquesta Aragon and El Grupo Guaguanco Matancero de Alberto Zayas with Joseito Fernandez on vocals. I was ecstatic at what I was hearing. I also heard a different sound - The Senen Suarez Group, that consisted of one trumpet and a flute, as a free form. I returned to New York with many stock arrangements, one conga quinto (made by Vergara, of El Barrio Las Marias in Havana), one pair of Maracas Socatas, one guiro, and a pair of Timbalitos (Bongos) like La Sonora used.

Joe Quijano Y Su Orquesta
Joe 'Mr Pachanga' Quijano Y Su Orquesta

 I returned with an idea for a new sound for the band. I worked with my friend Charlie Palmieri, and asked him if he could make musical arrangements using a combination of two trumpets, flute and a rhythm section playing a Charanga feel with the singers in unison. (Somewhat like the Orquesta Aragon sound.) Charlie argued that since the two instruments tune differently, there would be a clash, but I insisted, and he persisted, and a few months later, he came up with the instrumental version of "Amor'." It was then that the sound of the "Conjunto Cachana" was born.

I landed a job with Tico Records handling the Export Department and tried to record for the label, but the stock arrangements that I recorded did not appeal to Ralph Seijo, the A&R (Artists and Repertoire) person, and were never released. Leaving Tico, I went to work for Good One Stop, a wholesaler distributor, servicing retail stores and juke boxes. I convinced my bosses, Al Deustch and Artie Schrift, to be my backers so I could record a 45 RPM. At the One Stop I had enough influence (because the Latin Department Records I was managing were selling), to persuade them to hire Hector Rivera for the stock department, to work along with me. During one of my famous "Lunch Hours" the band and I recorded two numbers on the AQA label called "Rumba En Navidad" and "Descarga Charanga"; with Hector on piano. Now things began to happen!

That 45rpm was in every Juke Box in New York, thanks to Paramount Vending and their operators. The record began to make some noise! I was then approached by Jack Goodman of Spanoramic Records. Urged on by my good friend Yomo Toro, we completed two LP's "A Catano" and "Volvi a Catano". These recordings became hits in South America, (Thanks to the Merchant Marines that would bring the records down there) and the orders kept pouring in. Jack wanted more recordings, but by that time (On My Lunch Hour), I was roaming the hallways of CBS looking for someone to listen to my recordings and offer me a contract.

That someone turned out to be an angel sent from heaven, Mr. Ernie Altshuler. Ernie interviewed me at the same when Johnny Mathis ("Chances Are") and Tony Bennet ("I Left My Heart in San Francisco") were sitting in his office... I was ecstatic!

In the summer of 1960, the band (now known as "Joe Quijano y su Conjunto Cachana") was performing every Saturday at the Spring Rock Country Club in Spring Valley, New York. I asked Ernie if he would come and see us play, and he did, accompanied by his wife. I was so nervous, that after I finished playing a swinging set of Pachangas (the dance craze back then), I went over to his table to say hello. Without any prompting from me, he said "Joe, come on down to the office on Monday, and we'll sign a contract." "On My Lunch Hour" I signed with CBS Records, and received a $1,000.00 advance just for the signing. I left the office, and too excited to wait for the elevator, I bounded down the stairs. I opened the door, and walked on to a freshly painted grey floor. I fell flat on my behind! The more I tried to get up from the floor, the more I rolled in the thick, wet and sticky paint, but I was so elated that I did not care, it was the happiest day of my life.

Joe Quijano and his Conjunto Cachana at the Village Gate NYC
Joe Quijano and his Conjunto Cachana at the Village Gate NYC

Subsequently, I recorded three LP's with Columbia - "La Pachanga Se Baila Asi"; "Everything Latin, Yeah Yeah" and "Latin Joe". I also contracted for CBS three LP's featuring my rhythm section, with Eydie Gorme and Trio Los Ponchos, which were international hits. Pete Rosaly was the A&R person for those recordings. My contract over with CBS, Ernie went on to RCA, where he recorded great things, one being "It's Impossible" for Perry Como.

I then decided to start my own record company. Being an amateur Jai-Alai player, I called the company Cesta Records (a Cesta is the basket used in the game). Manny Fox, my manager at that time, got me a session with MGM Records, and we recorded "The Fiddler On The Roof Goes Latin".

These are the superb musicians I was lucky enough to work with: Alex Israel, Benny Bonilla, Doc Severensen, Eddie Rivera, Jimmy Nottingham and Mel Davis. With the Conjunto Cachana, there were guys like Charlie Palmieri, Hector Rivera, Artie Arzenser, Macuchito, Jimmy Loro, Dave Tucker, Louis Goicoechea, Chicky Perez, Mike Collazo, Ray Montilla, Joe Grajales, Charlie Fox, Manny Oquendo, Bobby Valentin, Herman Gonzales, Rod Sanchez, Bobby Nelson, Willie Pastrana, Benjamin Rosario, Joe Rosa and Manny Corchado, with singers that included Chaguito Montalvo Jr., Paquito Guzman, Willie Torres, Chivirico Davila, Adolberto Santiago, Yayo El Indio, Ray Cruz and many more.

Thank you, guys!!

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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