Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b 27 Sep. '35, Puerta De Tierra, San Juan, Puerto Rico) Latin bandleader, singer, percussionist, composer, label boss. Family moved to NYC when he was seven years old; father encouraged him to study classical piano; began interest in Latin music at age ten; joined a group co- founded by Orlando Marin and Eddie Palmieri c'50; Quijano claims he became leader when Marin was drafted '58, while Marin asserts that Quijano had been replaced by another singer. During a trip to Cuba '56, was impressed by one trumpet and flute frontline used by Sen‚n Su rez (guitarist/singer/composer; b 30 July '22, Manguito, Matanzas Province, Cuba); on return to NYC, persuaded a sceptical Charlie Palmieri to arr. for a two-trumpet/flute combination and rhythm section with charanga-style unison voices; eventual outcome was Quijano's Conjunto Cachana (his grandfather's nickname). A successful single 'Rumba En Navidad'/'Descarga Charanga' on AQA with pianist H‚ctor Rivera (funded by Quijano's bosses at the record distributor where he worked) was followed by two early '60s hit LPs A Cata¤o and Volvi A Cata¤a on Spanoramic. Signed with Columbia '60 as '60--64 charanga/pachanga craze was getting under way; made three LPs for the label c'61--3: La Pachanga Se Baila Asi, Latin Joe and Latin Touch (aka Everything Latin, Yeah Yeah; reissued on Sony Tropical '95); during this period Cachana's personnel incl. Bobby Valentin on trumpet, singers Paquito Guzm n and Willie Torres. Made Mr Pachanga N'Changa mid-'60s on AQA, The Fiddler On The Roof Goes Latin '65 on MGM; participated in the Alegre All-Stars' descarga set Vol. 2 'El Manicero' c'65 prod. by Alegre label boss Al Santiago. Released a long series of albums on his own Cesta label (named after the basket used in the game of jai-alai) from mid-'60s through mid-'80s; also made Ahora '75 on Harvey Averne's Coco label.
Two notable albums by the Cesta All-Stars, Live Jam Session late '60s and Salsa Festival early '70s, were actually a '67 recording of Alegre All-Stars personnel (incl. Marin, Cheo Feliciano, Kako, Louie Ramirez, Willie Rosario and others under dir. of Charlie Palmieri) made while Santiago was working as staff producer at Musicor; Santiago couldn't afford to release the material, so he sold the tapes to Quijano, who took co-prod. credit for some overdubbing and insertion of other Cesta material; the first LP was far superior to Salsa Festival, which was largely spoilt by being reprocessed in an attempt to make it sound like a wildly exciting concert recording. Quijano is credited as being the first to record a song penned by eminent Puerto Rican composer C. Curet Alonso, namely 'Efectivamente'; he re-recorded the number on Cositas Sueltas '80. La Pachanga Se Baila Asi '90 (incl. the new composition 'El Tema De Charlie' in tribute to the late Charlie Palmieri) and Vuelvo Otra Vez Con, La Pachanga '94 and Boleros, Bolero-Cha, Balada y Bachata '96 are Cesta compilations.