Headshot for Café


Café was a New York City-based septet formed in the ’70s, that offered an enticing blend of Latin rhythms with popular sounds of the  era, including psych-rock, funk and soul. The group caught the ear of celebrated bandleader, percussionist and Fania All Stars musical director Ray Barretto, who—with eclectic hits like “El Watusi,” “Indestructible” and “A Deeper Shade of Soul”—was no stranger himself to musical exploration. It was a natural move, then, for Barretto to serve as producer for the band’s self-titled debut in 1974.

Comprised of Jeff Chaumont (vocals, bass), Julio Gonzalez (vocals, guitar), Daniel Zaremba (piano), Oscar Salas (drums), Nelson “Flako” Padron (timbales, congas), Ian Hilton (saxophone, flute) and seasoned trumpeter Ronnie Tooley (whose credits include projects for John Lennon and Yoko Ono, James Brown and Jaco Pastorius), the band only recorded the previously mentioned self-titled album on Vaya Records (a subsidiary of Fania Records). Together, they recorded 11 original songs in English and Spanish that channeled everyone from Blood, Sweat & Tears and the Doors to Santana and War. The album also included several esteemed guests. Among them was the award-winning trumpeter Luis “Perico” Ortiz (Tito Puente, David Bowie, Fania All Stars), saxophonist/flutist Justo Almario (the Commodores, Freddie Hubbard, Chaka Kahn) and saxophonist Hector Veneros (Eddie Palmieri, Mongo Santamaría, Fran Ferrer).


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