Jerry Masucci

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Jerry Masucci (October 7, 1934 – December 21, 1997) was a co-founder of Fania Records.

Early life[edit]

Masucci was born October 7, 1934 in Brooklyn, New York to Urbano and Elvira Masucci. His brother is Alex Masucci (born November 11, 1949). Masucci moved to a home on the Upper East Side of New York, eventually owning homes in Paris, Ibiza, Uruguay, Havana, and Miami.

Masucci was a high school dropout who earned his high school diploma while serving in the United States Navy at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, during the Korean War. He became a member of the New York City Police Department. After attending college at night, Masucci took a leave of absence and attended City College of New York, where he played halfback on the college football team, and earned a degree in Business Administration, majoring in foreign trade. He graduated first in his class with cum laude honors. He then returned to the Police Department as a plainclothes policeman and attended New York Law School during the day. Graduating in 1960 with a Doctor of Law Degree, he resigned from the Police Department and worked in Havana, Cuba as assistant to the Director of Public Relations in the Department of Tourism.

Career[edit]

Masucci became a partner in the law firm Pariser & Masucci. Masucci met Johnny Pacheco in 1962 when his firm handled Pacheco's divorce. In 1964 Masucci and Pacheco established Fania Records.website = www.fania.com | alias = Fania, La Fania | origin = New York, New York, U.S. They started out selling records out of the trunk of cars on the streets of Spanish Harlem, signing up young artists, creating new sounds, and eventually having hit records. Throughout his tenure as an impresario of the so-called salsa genre, Jerry Masucci was reportedly generous, sponsoring lavish parties and buying everyone lunch at rehearsals, while popularizing salsa among Latin Jazz listeners. Over the next 15 years, Fania Records helped define the sound, culture, and language associated with the salsa genre, a musical movement that arose partly from the unavailability in the United States of music produced in Cuba.[1] The Fania All-Stars is a musical ensemble established in 1968 as a showcase for the musicians on the record label Fania Records, the leading salsa record company of the time.[2]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

  • A Tribute to Tito Rodríguez (Fania, 1976)
  • Latin Connection (Fania, 1981)
  • Social Change (Fania, 1981)
  • Guasasa (Fania, 1989)
  • Ray Barretto ACID (Fania 1968)

Live albums[edit]

  • Live at the Red Garter, Vol. 1 (Fania, 1968)
  • Live at the Red Garter, Vol. 2 (Fania, 1969)
  • Live at the Cheetah, Vol. 1 (Fania, 1972)
  • Live at the Cheetah, Vol. 2 (Fania, 1972)
  • Live at the Cheetah, Vol. 2 (Fania, 1973)
  • Latin-Soul-Rock (Fania, 1974)
  • Fania All-Stars (Island, 1975)
  • Live in Japan 76 (Fania, 1976)
  • Live at Yankee Stadium, Vol. 1 (Fania, 1976)
  • Live at Yankee Stadium, Vol. 2 (Fania, 1976)
  • Live (Fania, 1978)
  • Habana Jam (Fania, 1979)
  • Live in Africa (Fania, 1986)

DVDs[edit]

  • Our Latin Thing (Fania 1972)
  • Salsa (Fania, 1974)
  • In Africa (Fania, 1993)
  • Live (Fania, 1995)

Masucci became a feature film maker, producing Our Latin Thing, Salsa, Vigilante, and The Last Fight. He became sole owner of the Fania Records label in 1977, and would own ten other recording companies, as well: Vaya, Cotique, Tico, Alegre, Mardi-Gras, Sonido, Éxitos, International, Bronco, and Karen. He was also a part-owner of the "Fame" modeling agency.

Masucci had Pacheco directing stage shows and Larry Harlow directing in the studio. Alex Masucci was at the helm of the New York-based Fania Records for many years. Jerry Masucci first produced a concert at Yankee Stadium. The event, featuring his Fania All-Stars, was attended by 45,000 people, and was included in the second set of 50 recordings in a list preserved in the National Recording Registry. Fania All Stars = José Alberto "El Canario" (vocalist), Justo Betancourt (Vocalist), Ruben Blades (Vocalist), Jimmy Bosch (Trombone), Willie Colón (Vocalist, Trombone), Edwin Tito Asencio (Trombone), Alfredo De La Fé (violin), Louie Garcia (tres), Larry Harlow, Pupi Legarreta, Papo Lucca, Nicky Marrero, Ismael Miranda, Andy (Vocalist), Johnny Pacheco (Vocalist, Composer, Bandleader), Bobby Valentín | past_members = Ray Barretto (deceased), Celia Cruz (deceased), Hector Lavoe (Deceased), Pete "El Conde" Rodríguez (deceased), Yomo Toro (deceased), Cheo Feliciano (deceased)

Massucci ventured into the world of boxing with Don King, with whom he promoted a Heavyweight Championship bout fought between Muhammad Ali and Jean-Pierre Coopman in Puerto Rico in 1976.

Masucci had decided to have shares of Fania Records issued on Friday, December 19, 1997; Fania was going public. He had a master plan that would make those offers become more of a desire from the major labels to buy or take over Fania Records, with the Fania All-Stars performing every 3 to 4 months all over the world again. When Jerry Masucci died over the weekend of December 19, 1997 everything just stopped and the Fania Records shares were never offered.

Death[edit]

Jerry Masucci had moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1997. On December 21, of that very year, Masucci died in said city. He left as survivors three daughters, namely, Darlene, Misty, and Corrine, with three different women: Marlene Masucci, Rachel Ann Butler, and Melissa Gosnel.[1] His personal assistant, Daniel Amar Siad, was not with him the weekend he died. He flew in from Cuba when he heard the news. Masucci had complained in the weeks before his death of headaches and stomach pains, but did not seek medical advice. On Friday, December 19 he experienced further stomach pains while playing tennis. Two days later he died on the operating table during exploratory surgery. The cause of death was a brain aneurysm. The following week his body was flown to New York City for a service at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Home; the body was cremated after the service.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jerry Massucci tribute website at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ César Miguel Rondón The Book of Salsa: A Chronicle of Urban Music from the Caribbean 2008 - Page 42 "In this way, the Fania All Stars were formed as a fusion of the best bandleaders and singers from seven orchestras, complemented by some individual veteran musicians from the New York scene."

External links[edit]