Jon Fausty Engineering Musician – February 2021

By Nelson Rodríguez

Engineer John Fausty

Engineer John Fausty, Johnny "Dandy" Rodriguez and José Madera working on overdubs for the Birdland live recording - May 8th, 1998. - Credit Martin Cohen

Back in the early 80’s I had the privilege of meeting the man who was involved in the recording, mixing or mastering thousands of Latin recordings and it happened by chance when producer Roberto Torres invited me to one of the recordings of Charanga De La 4. I had just begun my job as East Coast Representative for TH Records and during a visit to record stores on Bergenline Avenue in Union City, New Jersey (the primary Cuban area in New Jersey) I decided to visit the offices of SAR Records to introduce myself and pick up promo copy records for the first and only Latin Record pool in the world…International Latin Music Spinners owned by Eddie Mercado. I was the chart director for Eddie and the one who visited the stores & distributors. My interest and knowledge of Roberto Torres’ career developed into a friendship and was invited to various recording sessions and the man at the mixing board was none other than Jon Fausty.

Jon Fausty, from Armonk, New York in Westchester, was the man behind the mix board of some of the greatest recordings in Salsa history of which a large percentage were from the Fania label.

His first Latin recording, around 1968 or 69, was for a Cesta All Star session, working on a one inch eight track, that ended up a disaster due to his lack experience. By the end of 1969 Jon found himself working at an inexpensive recording studio, Delta Recoding Studios at 1564 Broadway, that would in no time become the studio where many local Salsa bands went to record because it was cheap. It gave Jon a chance to develop his skills and by the end of 1972 when he met Larry Harlow. Jon would get together with some friends to jam and one of them, guitarist Elliot Randall, had invited Larry Harlow to jam at a session and in turn Larry saw what Jon was doing and asked him to be chief engineer at the RKO Studios that became Good Vibrations Studios. Jon was at that studio from 1972-76 before moving to La Tierra Sound Studios from 1976 to 1981.

His first Fania LP’s he worked at the end of 1972 were Sonora Ponceña and La Conspiracion and to begin 1973 “Lo Mato” by Willie Colon with Hector Lavoe. As of this day he has worked on over 3,000 recordings to his credit.

Jon would develop into a master at what he did and during my interview with him on my show, “El Condado De La Salsa y Jazz Latino”, that is in Sound Cloud at World Salsa Radio.com, he explained the techniques he used throughout the years. One such technique the use of three microphones for Ray Barretto (usually only two were used). Another being the placement of microphones across the room (left-right-center) that has become a standard for other engineers.

At Fania he learned about mixing to picture and was involved in the films “Salsa” and “Our Latin Thing” as well as “Live In Puerto Rico” where he used 5 DA-88’s (Digital Mulit-Track Recorders) to get 40 tracks that included 7 to 8 cameras synchronized to audio with Larry Harlow as producer.

One of my fondest memories was of the concert that was really a recording session when we recorded the TropiJazz All Stars live at the Manhattan Center Studios and the Master of Ceremonies Felipe Luciano announced to the audience that there may be stoppages during the concert to re-record. The concert ended after 3am in the morning that was a surprise to many.

What I most remember about my meeting with Jon was that he is a musician with a mix board getting the right sounds for the success of so many great artists. Even the great Tito Puente acknowledged that sentiment when he first saw Jon do his magic on the board.

Here is a brief list of some of the acts and recordings he has worked on:

The Fania Stable- Johnny Pacheco’s “Tres De Café y Dos De Azucar”, “El Maestro”, “Llego Melon”, ”Celia & Johnny”, Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacheco “Tremendo Cache”, “Bravo”

La Lupe’s “One Of A Kind”

Sonora Ponceña’s “Hacheros Pa’ Un Palo”, “Desde Puerto Rico A Nueva York”, “La Sonora Ponceña”, “El Gigante Del Sur”, “Conquista Musical”, “Explorando”

La Conspiracion’s “Cada Loco Con Su Tema”

Ray Barretto’s “The Message”, “The Other Road”, “Indestructible”, “Barretto”, “Irresistible”, “Tomorrow: Barretto Live”

Orquesta Novel’s “Salsomania”

Louie Ramirez

Bobby Valentin’s “ Bad Breath”, “Algo Nuevo”, “In Motion”, “El Rey Del Bajo”

Tipica 73’s “La Candela” and “The Two Sides of Tipica 73”

Bobby Rodriguez y La Compañia’s “Lead Me To That Beautiful Band”, “Salsa At Woodstock”, “Latin From Manhattan”, “Mi Regreso” (La Nueva Compañia)

Chivirico Davila’s “Chivirico (71)”, “Chivirico (73)“Para Mi Gente”, “Vendre Por Ti”

Ismael Rivera y sus Cachimbos’ “De Todas Maneras Rosas”, “Maelo… El Unico”

Ismael Quintana

Kako’s “Union Dinamica” (with Azuquita)

Ralfi Pagan’s “I Can See”

Pete ‘El Conde’ Rodriguez’ “El Conde”, “Soy La Ley”, “Este Negro Si Es Sabroso”

Vitin Aviles’ “Otra Vez Con Amor”

The Joe Cuba Sextet’s “Cocinando La Salsa”

Cheo Feliciano’s “Felicidades”, “The Singer”

Ismael Miranda’s “Asi Se Compone Un Son”, “Este Es Ismael Miranda”, “En Fa Menor”, “Com Mi Viejo Amigo” (with Larry Harlow), “No Voy Al Festival”

Roberto Roena y su Apollo Sound’s “#4”, “# 5”, “# 6”, “Lucky 7”, “El Progreso”, “La 8va Maravilla”, “# 9”

Tommy Olivencia’s “Plante Bandera”, “Fiesta De Soneros”, “Introducing Lalo Rodriguez & Simon Perez”

Machito’s “Soul Of Machito”

Seguida’s “Love Is…Seguida”

Junior Gonzalez’ “Gracias”, “Lo Pasado, Pasado”

Justo Betancourt’s “Pa’ Bravo Yo” and “Lo Sabemos”

Ray De La Paz’ “Como Tu Quieras”

Andy Harlow’s “Sorpresa La Flauta”

Monguito Santamaria’s “En Una Nota”

Willie Colon & Hector Lavoe’s “The Hustler”, “Lo Mato”, “Asalto Navideño”, “Vigilante”

Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz’ “Jala Jala y Boogaloo”

The Lebron Brothers’ “En La Union Esta La Fuerza”, “Asunto De Familia”,“El Criollo”, “10th Anniversary”

Fania All-Stars “Live at The Cheetah”, “Live at Yankee Stadium”, “Latin-Rock-Soul”, “Live in Puerto Rico’, “Live In Africa”, “Live In Japan-1976”, “Lo Que Pide La Gente”, “Tribute To Tito Rodriguez”

the movie “Crossover Dreams”

Santos Colon’s “Bonita”

Orchestra Harlow’s “Salsa”, “El Judio Maravilloso”, “Yo Soy Latino”, “El Albino Divino”, “La Raza Latina: A Salsa Suite”, “El Jardinero Del Amor”(with Junior Gonzalez)

Roberto Roena Ft. Adalberto Santiago “Super Apollo 47:50”

Adalberto Santiago’s “Calidad”

Hector Lavoe’s “La Voz”, “De Ti Depende”, “Comedia”, “Recordando a Felipe Pirela”, “El Sabio”

Willie Colon & Celia Cruz’ “Only They Could Have Made This Album”

Mongo Santamaria’s “Ubane” (with Justo Betancourt), “Sofrito”, “Live at Yankee Stadium”

Latin Fever “Larry Harlow Presents…”

Wliie Colon & Mon Rivera “There Goes The Neighborhood”

Willie Colon’s “The Good, The Bad & The Ugly”

Eddie Palmieri’s “Mozambique”, “Recorded Live at Sing Sing”

Cortijo & Ismael Rivera’s “Con Todos Los Hierros”

Frankie Dante & His Orchestra Flamboyan’s “Los Salseros De Acero” and “…Con Larry Harlow”

Ruben Blades & Willie Colon “Metiendo Mano”, “Siembra”, “The Last Fight” and “Canciones Del Solar De Los Aburridos”

Menique “Soy Hijo De Chango”

Pupi y su Charanga and “Los Dos Mosqueteros (Pacheco y Pupi)

The Alegre All Stars’ “Perdido”

El Gran Combo’s “Happy Days”, “Aqui No Se Sienta Nadie” and “Unity”

Willie Colon’s “Demasiado Corazon”, “Corazon Guerrero”, “Solo” and “Fantasmas”

Celia Cruz’s “Celia Cruz & Friends: A Night of Salsa”, “La Negra Tiene Tumbao”, “Regalo Del Alma”

Ruben Blades’ “Maestra Vida”, “El Que La Hace La Paga”

Ruben Blades & Son Del Solar’s “Amor Y Control”, “Caminando”, “Ruben Blades & Son Del Solar-Live”, “Antecedente”

Gilberto Santa Rosa’s “Autentico”, “Vice Versa”, “Esencia”, “Intenso”, “De Corazon”

Cesta All-Stars

Angel Canales’ “Sentimiento Del Latino En Nueva York”, “Ya Es Tiempo (It’s Time)

Milton Cardona’s “Cambucha” and “Bembe”

Alfredo De La Fe’s “Latitude”

Charlie Palmieri’s “Con Salsa y Sabor” (with Meñique)

David Byrne’s “Rei Momo”

Los Jovenes Del Barrio’s “Reconfirmando”, “Es Diferente”, “Live”

Conjunto Candela ‘79

Chocolate’s “Retrato Musical”

“Tropical Tribute to The Beatles”

“Super Cuban All Stars: Made In The USA”

”RMM- La Combinacion Perfecta”

Orlando Watusi’s “Como Nunca”

Totico y sus Rumberos

Johnny Rodriguez y su Orquesta “El Encuentro”, ”Dandy’s Dandy: A Latin Affair”

Willie Rosario’s “Infinito”, “El Rey Del Ritmo”, “El De A 20 De Willie”, “The Portrait of A Man”

Puerto Rico All-Stars

Luis ‘Perico’ Ortiz’ “Jamming”

Charanga 76’s “Imaginate”

Carabali and ”Carabali 2”

Yomo Toro’s “Celebramos Navidad”

Nachito Herrera “Bembe En Mi Casa”

The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra “Live at The Bluenote”

The Romantic Salseros- Marc Anthony ‘Valio La Pena’

Victor Manuelle’s “Le Pregunta A La Luna”

Charlie Cruz’ “Un Chico Malo” and “Asi Soy”

Frankie Negron’s “Inesperado”

Nora’s “Tratame Como Soy”

Tito Nieves’ “Muy Agradecido”

Orquesta De La Luz’ “Sabor De La Luz” and “Feliz Christmas”

Conjunto Clasico’s “Si No Bailan Con Ellos, No Bailan Con Nadie”, “Llego La Ley”, “Las Puertas Abiertas” & “El Panadero”, “Daniel Santos Con El Conjunto Clasico”, “Asi Es Mi Pueblo”

Grupo Niche’s “Golpe de Folcklore”

The Cubans- Maraca’s “Yo Soy”, “Lo Que Quiero Es Fiesta”, “Tremenda Rumba”, Havana Calling” (with Otra Vision)

Vocal Sampling “De Vacaciones”, “Una Forma Mas” & “Cambio El Tiempo”

Los Van Van’s “Songo”

Chucho Valdes’ “New Conceptions” and “Solo: Live In New York”, “Live at The Village Vanguard”, “Briyumba Palo Congo”, “Live”, “Bele Bele En La Habana”

Issac Delgado’s “Versos En El Cielo”

Los Muñequitos de Matanzas’ “Vacunao”

Isaac Oviedo’s “Routes of Rhythms, Vol.3”

The Merengueros- Fernando Villalona’s “Mal Acostumbrado”

Olga Tañon’s “A Puro Fuego”

Manny Manuel’s “El Rey De Corazones”

Johnny Ventura “Y Buena Que Esta Maria”, “El Caballo Negro”, “En Su Decimoquinto Aniversario”

Bonny Cepeda’s “Music Makers”

Raul Marrero’s “Romantico y Salsero”

Mongo Santamaria’s “Mambo Mongo”

Batacumbele’s “Afro Caribbean Jazz”

Charlie Rodriguez’ “Charlie Rodriguez & Rey Reyes”

Orlando Watussi

Raphy Leavitt Y La Selecta “Cosquillita”

Nils Fischer & Timbazo “Gracias Joe Cuba”

Angelo Vailliant’s “Soneros De Cuba y New York”

Pepe Mora

SAR’s Papaito’s “Rinde Homenaje a Abelardo Barroso”

Charanga Casino

Conjunto Crema

SAR All-Stars’ “Interpretan a Rafael Hernandez”

Roberto Torres’ “Recuerda A Portables”, “Con El Sabor de Roberto Torres”, “Elegantemente Criollo”

Henry Fiol “Fe, Esperanza y Caridad” and “El Secreto”

“Linda Leida”

Henry Fiol’s “Corazon”

Grupo Fascinacion’s “Fascinating Sounds”. “Tiburon” and “Salsa Vibes”

Tropijazz’ Hilton Ruiz’ “Island Eyes”, “Rhythm In The House” and “Hands On Percussion”

Tito Puente’s “In Session”, “Tito’s Idea”, “Dancemania ‘99”, “Mambo Birdland”, “Jazzin” (with India)

JP Torres’ “Trombone Man”

Paquito D’ Rivera Presents “Cuba Jazz” (90 Miles Away)

Tropijazz All Stars “Live”

Eddie Palmieri’s “Vortex” & “Arete”

The Latin Jazz of Daniel Ponce’s “Arawe”

Gato Barbier’s “Bahia”

Jerry Gonzalez’ “Ya Yo Me Cure”

Jerry Gonzalez & The Fort Apache Band “The River Is Deep”

Chico O’Farrill’s “Carambola”

Frank Emilio Flynn’s “Ancestral Reflections”

Papo Vazquez’ “Break Out”

Adela Dalto’s “Papa Boco”

Deep Rumba’s “A Calm In The Fire of Dances”

Pucho & The Latin Soul Brothers’ “Rip A Dip”

Kip Hanrahan’s “Shadow Nights, Vol.1 & Vol.2”, “A Thousand Nights and A Night (Shadow Night)”, and “Days Nights of Blue Luck Inverted”, “Vertical’s Currency”, “A Few Short Notes From The End Run”, “Desire Develops An Edge”, “Coup De Tete”

The Bronx Horns’ “Catch The Feeling”

Eddie Palmieri’s “La Perfecta II”, “El Rumbero Del Piano”, “Ritmo Caliente”, “Listen Here”, “Sueno”, “Palmas”

Tito Puente & Eddie Palmieri’s “La Obra Maestra”

Puerto Rican Power’s “Wild Wild Salsa” and “Men In Salsa”

Jose Conde & Ola Fresca’s “Ay! Que Rico”

Angel Melendez’ “Angel Melendez and the 911 Mambo Orchestra”

Manny Oquendo’s Conjunto Libre’s “Ahora” and “The New Yorkinos”

India’s “Llego La India Via Eddie Palmieri”

Carolina Lao’s “El Son De Ahora”

Ned Sublette’s “Cowboy Rumba”

Salsa Kids “Nada Nos Va A Detener”

D’ Mingo “Que Vacile Mi Gente”

Jesus Enrique’s “Nada Sera Igual”

Mickey Tavares’ “Luchare”

Alfredito Valdes’ “La Fiesta No Es Para Los Feos”

Los Soneros’ “Canta Fernando Lavoy”

Ray De La Paz “Preparate Bailador”

Louie Ramirez & Ray De La Paz “Otra Noche Caliente”

“Carlito’s Way (Music from The Motion Picture)”

“Routes Of Rhythm” (Series)

Airto’s “Samba de Flora”

Javier Vazquez y su Salsa’s “La Verdad (The Truth)

Sabu Martinez’s “Jazz Espagnole”

Wuelfo “El Sonido De La 4”

As fans we only see the artist and not those involved in the creation of a recording. For me it has been a pleasure to know and understand the fantastic work that Jon has put into the history making recordings we all love.