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Bobby Valentin


As the first artist Johnny Pacheco signed to Fania Records, the Puerto Rican teenager known as Bobby Valentin proved to be a multi-threat talent: he could play just about any instrument he picked up and he was a crack arranger who was responsible for many of the early arrangements of Pacheco's band's songs. Valentin had recorded with Fonseca and Cotique Records before signing with Fania in '66, but the relationship with Fania was the most fruitful: he released nine albums in just eight years. His greatest skill lay in his progressive arrangements and unorthodox instrumentation, which played a big part in defining the evolution of Fania's sound. In addition to working with his own band, Valentin arranged for Tito Rodriguez and Willie Rosario, among others, and contributed to albums by Cheo Feliciano, Roberto Roena, Ismael Miranda and Celia Cruz. (He was also a founding member of the Fania All-Stars.) In 1975, Valentin left Fania and started Bronco Records, continuing his forward-looking approach to salsa with a revolving cast of singers. Though some feared the musician had lost his touch in the 1980s, recent releases have reconfirmed his status as one of salsa's great bandleaders.

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