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Johnny Pacheco, the ‘Godfather of Salsa’

It would be hard to think of a more iconic figure on the Latin Jazz scene than Johnny Pacheco, who died Monday at age 85, or a better New York rags-to-riches story.  Born in the Dominican Republic on March 25, 2931, Pacheco immigrated with his parents to the United States when he was 11. From there, he attended The Juilliard School before launching Pacheco Y Su Charanga, the first pachanga band to become a household name in his adopted country.

Of course, the music says more about Pacheco’s legacy than anything – joyous, lively, passionate and fun. RIP, querido señor.


James Allenby is the editor of Gowanus Lounge, bringing to his position a vast background on New York, and especially Brooklyn history, culture and lifestyle. Born and bred in the heart of "the County of Kings" James Allenby knows what it means to be a Brooklynite, and imparts this meaning at all times to his readers. Contact James at info(at)