Jon Fausty (February 20, 1949 – September 29, 2023) was an American multiple Grammy Award-winning sound and recording engineer best known for his work on some of the most successful Latin albums ever recorded. With a career that spanned over six decades, Fausty had a significant impact on the Latin music industry both in the United States and internationally.
Born in Westchester, New York, of Russian and Hungarian Jewish ancestry, Fausty originally aspired to be a radio disc jockey. However, his life took a different turn after a chance visit in 1960 to Mirasound Studios in Manhattan. The engineers there allowed him to watch and learn, sparking his interest in sound engineering. He got his first job at Groove Sound Studios, where he became Wiley C. Brooks’ assistant. Fausty soon climbed the ranks to become the chief engineer at just 18 years old.
His first Latin recording was for the Cesta All-Stars at Groove Sound. Initially unfamiliar with Latin music and its instruments, he felt he had botched the recording. However, his next job at Delta Studios provided the training ground he needed to refine his skills. There, he worked with artists like Willie Rosario, Charlie Palmieri, and Manique, learning the “mathematics” of the salsa sound, specifically the clave and tumbao rhythms.
Fausty’s breakthrough came after meeting Larry Harlow at a friend’s jam session. Harlow later invited him to audition at Good Vibrations Sound Studios, owned by Fania Records. Out of approximately 40 candidates, Fausty was hired. At Good Vibrations, he introduced state-of-the-art technology, including a retractable ceiling designed to isolate percussion sections, thus significantly improving the recording quality.
Over the years, Fausty worked with a multitude of Latin music legends, such as Willie Colon, Hector Lavoe, Ray Barreto, Johnny Pacheco, Sonora Poncena, Roberto Roena, Cheo Feliciano, and many more. He was credited with thousands of recordings, 18 of which won Grammy Awards. His collaborations included Grammy-winning projects with Chucho Valdez, Celia Cruz, Ruben Blades, and Marc Anthony.
Jon Fausty was known for his minimalist approach to recording. He emphasized capturing performances simply, cleanly, and quickly, using high-quality equipment. As a result, many salsa records from the 1970s through the early 1980s have a timeless, classic sound.
Fausty’s discography is extensive, including work on albums from the early 1960s to the 2000s. Some of his notable works include:
- 1972: “Desde Puerto Rico a Nueva York” by La Sonora Ponceña
- 1978: “Siembra” by Rubén Blades / Willie Colón
- 1988: “Antecedente” by Rubén Blades
- 2000: “Masterpiece/Obra Maestra” by Eddie Palmieri / Tito Puente
- 2004: “Valio la Pena” by Marc Anthony
Jon Fausty’s career serves as a testament to his extraordinary talent and dedication to the Latin music industry. His work has not only shaped the sound of generations but also set a standard for quality and innovation in sound engineering.