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Joe Cuba Sextet’s “Vagabundeando!” (Hangin’ Out) Returns to Vinyl for 60th Anniversary

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Joe Cuba, courtesy of Craft Latino
Joe Cuba Sextet. Photo: Art cover from the album Vagabundeando! (Hangin’ Out)

Los Angeles, CA —Craft Latino celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Joe Cuba Sextet’s classic Tico Records debut, Vagabundeando! (Hangin’ Out!), with the album’s first vinyl reissue in nearly 50 years. Freshly remastered from all-analog sources, the 1964 LP is pressed on 180-gram vinyl and housed in a tip-on jacket, replicating the album’s original designs. Vagabundeando! features an all-star line-up of talent, including legendary Puerto Rican vocalists Cheo Feliciano and Jimmy Sabater, plus such fan favorites as “El Ratón,” “Nina Nina,” “I Need You,” and “Oye Bien.” Set for release on May 10 and available for pre-order todayVagabundeando! will also make its debut in 192/24 hi-res digital audio. In addition, a Lemon Yellow color vinyl exclusive with an exciting bundle option that includes a commemorative Tico Records T-shirt is available for pre-order at Fania.com.

Celebrated conguero, bandleader, and “Father of Latin Boogaloo,” Joe Cuba (1931—2009) was a foundational figure in New York’s Latin soul scene. A native of Harlem, the Puerto Rican artist (born Gilberto Miguel Calderón) learned to play the congas as a teenager while recovering from a broken leg. Before long, the young percussionist was booking gigs across the city and, in 1954, founded The Joe Cuba Sextet. Playing alongside such stars as Tito Puente, Machito, and Tito Rodríguez, Cuba and his bandmates quickly gained a following with their swaggering showmanship and stood out from their peers with their unique instrumentation choices—including adding a vibraphonist and doing away with horns (which was unheard of at the time).

Joe Cuba Sextet's "Vagabundeando!" (Hangin' Out) Art Cover
Joe Cuba Sextet’s “Vagabundeando!” (Hangin’ Out) Art Cover

The group also found a broad appeal with their blend of Spanish and English lyrics—performed, respectively, by timbalero/singer José “Cheo” Feliciano (who replaced Willie Torres in 1958) and crooner Jimmy Sabater, with backing by vibraphonist Tommy Berrios, bassist Jules Cordero, and pianist Nick Jiménez. The sextet’s enticing style served as the foundation for salsa music, as well as for boogaloo—a hugely popular movement that would take hold in the mid-late ‘60s, reflecting the melting pot of New York City with its blend of R&B, soul, and Afro-Cuban rhythms. While Cuba would widely be credited for the creation of boogaloo with his 1966 crossover hit, “Bang Bang,” he was laying the groundwork with Vagabundeando!(Hangin’ Out!), two years earlier.

The 1964 album marked the band’s debut on Tico Records—one of the era’s most powerful players in the Latin market. As the label sought to reach a younger audience, amid the changing times, Cuba and his band were among a fresh line-up of talent poised for stardom. Vagabundeando! (Hangin’ Out!), produced by one of the most important jazz producers of all time, Teddy Reig, reflected the new era with a vibrant blend of Afro-Cuban rhythms, jazz, and soul, including such energetic dancefloor numbers as “Quinto Sabroso,” “Oye Bien,” and “Nina Nina,”—all performed in Spanish by Feliciano. Sabater also shines in English-language tracks like the soulful “I Need You” and the joyful “Trip to Mamboland.” Another highlight is the Feliciano-fronted “El Ratón,” a captivating ballad that remains one of the group’s most popular and enduring tracks—thanks in part to samples by such acts as Black Eyed Peas, plus high-profile interpolations by the likes of Santana and Willie Bobo, among others. 

In the album’s original liner notes, Tico’s Pancho Cristal writes, “‘Hangin’ Out’ is reserved for the young…. It means simply to stay out with the boys and have fun.” He continues, “Joe Cuba and his boys…do this with that youthful gusto and verve that marks all their appearances and performances.” Indeed, this energy would help Cuba build a massive following, as he scored hit after hit on the charts through the next decade and become one of the most successful Latin artists of his generation. Cuba, who continued to record until the late ‘90s, was a celebrated figure in New York throughout his life. In 1999, he was inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame.

Click here to pre-order Vagabundeando! (Hangin’ Out!).

Click here to find the exclusive bundle including the “Lemon Yellow” color vinyl with the commemorative Tico Records T-shirt

Vagabundeando! (Hangin’ Out!) Tracklist (Vinyl)

Side A: 1. Quinto Sabroso; 2. I Need You; 3. Oriza Oko; 4. Flaco’s Cha Cha; 5. No Coman Cuento; 6. Oye Bien.

Side B: 1. Yo Y Borinquen; 2. Quieres Volver; 3. Nina Nina; 4. El Ratón; 5. Trip To Mamboland; 6. Ya Se Acabó.

*Digital track list mirror’s the vinyl.

About Fania:

Highly influential, both musically and culturally,?Fania?Records spread the sound of salsa music from the clubs of New York City to the rest of the world and became a revered global brand in the process.?Fania’s master recording catalog is the definitive home for genres such as Latin big band, Afro-Cuban jazz, boogaloo, salsa and Latin R&B and includes artistic giants such as Celia CruzWillie ColónHéctor Lavoe and Rubén Blades. With the creation of the international supergroup known as the Fania All-Stars, the label’s signature musical style became known as the “Fania Sound.” Fania’s rich master catalog also includes the Pete Rodriguez’s boogaloo classic “I Like It Like That” which was sampled by Cardi B in her #1 hit “I Like It. Additionally, three Fania Recordings, Celia & Johnny by Celia Cruz and Johnny Pacheco, Azucar Pa’ Ti by Eddie Palmieri and Live at Yankee Stadium by the Fania All-Stars, appear in the National Recording Registry, a list of sound recordings that “are culturally, historically or aesthetically important, and/or inform or reflect life in the United States.” For more info, visit Fania.com and follow on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

About Craft Latino:

Craft Latino is home to one of the largest and most prestigious collections of Latin music master recordings and compositions in the world. Its rich and storied repertoire includes legendary artists such as Antonio AguilarJoan SebastianPepe AguilarCelia CruzHéctor LavoeWillie ColónRay BarrettoLa LupeRuben Blades and the Fania All Stars, to name just a few. Renowned imprints with catalogs issued under the Craft banner include MusartFaniaTHPanartWest Side Latino and Kubaney, among many others. Craft creates thoughtfully curated packages, with a meticulous devotion to quality and a commitment to preservation, ensuring that these recordings endure for new generations to discover. Craft Latino is the Latin repertoire arm of Craft Recordings. For more info, visit CraftRecordings.com.

Web Publisher. Founder, Editor & Webmaster for Latin Jazz Network, World Music Report & That Canadian Magazine. A passionate and committed communicator with a sensibility for the arts based in Toronto, Canada.

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