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

Biography

Early life

Urbano and Elvira Masucci parents of Jerry Masucci. Elvira gave birth to Gennaro on October 7, 1934, in Brooklynmarker. Jerry Massucci ultimately relocated to a home on the Upper East Sidemarker of New York Citymarker, and owned homes in Parismarker, Ibizamarker, Uruguaymarker, Havanamarker and Miamimarker. He had moved to and died in his home in Buenos Airesmarker, Argentinamarker, in 1997. Masucci had three daughters, Darlene, Misty and Corrine, with three different women the three women in his life, Marlene Masucci, Rachel Ann Butler and Melissa Gosnel, Jerry Masucci was an intensely private man.

Masucci was a high school dropout who earned his high school diploma while serving in the U.S. Navy at Guantanamo Bay, Cubamarker, 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 Collegemarker, where he played half-back with the college football team, and earned a degree in Business Administration, Majoring in foreign Trade, and graduating first in his class with cum laude honors. He then returned to the Police Department as a plain clothes policeman and attended New York Law Schoolmarker during the day. Graduating in 1960 with a Doctor of Law Degree, he then resigned from the Police Department and worked in Havana, Cubamarker, as assistant to the Director of Public Relations in the Department of Tourism.

Career

Jerry Masucci became a partner in the successful law firm Pariser & Masucci. Masucci met Johnny Pacheco in 1962 while his firm handled Pacheco's divorce. In 1964 Masucci and Pacheco established Fania Records and started by selling records out of the trunk of cars on the streets of Spanish Harlemmarker, signing up young artists, creating new sounds and eventually having hit records. Throughout his tenure as the most powerful impresario in the Salsa genre, Masucci was a no-nonsense businessman who did everything legally, by the book. He was reportedly generous, sponsoring lavish parties, and buying everyone lunch at rehearsals and, in the interim popularized Salsa among Latin Jazz listeners. Over the next 15 years, Fania Records defined the sound, culture and language asscociated with the Salsa genre, a musical movement that arose partly from the unavailability in the United States of music produced in Cuba, itself.

Cheo Feliciano, a Puerto Rico-born songwriter said: "Jerry Masucci, as the great businessman he was, made a mixture of other rhythms or other influences to integrate within our salsa thing. Especially in my tune, "El Ratón," which is one of one of the tunes that I wrote at the very beginning. He included Jorge Santana with his guitar and that was a fusion of rock and salsa."

A lawyer, then record producer, a promoter, Massucci 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, Exitos, International, Bronco, and Karen. He was also a part-owner of the "Fame" modeling agency. Masucci prided himself on his business acumen, collocating the fundamentals to produce success, after success, after success in recording artist's, live concerts, Movies, TV shows and as a Boxing promoter.

Recognising talent and skills, Masucci had Pacheco directing stage shows and Harlow directing in the studio. Alex Masucci, Jerry's brother was at the helm of the New York-based Fania Records for many years. Jerry Massucci first produced a concert at Yankee Stadiummarker. 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.

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 Copuian in Puerto Rico. Masucci's business acumen and money paid to make many an unknown artist a star; a Who's Who in Latin music history.

Death

On Sunday, December 21, 1997, Gerry Masucci, renowned president of Fania Records, died in Buenos Aires, Argentina. On Friday, December 19th, he experienced stomach pains while playing tennis. Two days later during exploratory surgery he died on the operating table. The cause of death, a brain aneurysm. The following week his body was flown to New York. His remains rested at the Frank Campbell Funeral at 81st Street and Madison Avenue.

References

  1. Jerry Massucci tribute website - archived version


External links




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