The first name of the great “Cheo” is José Natalio Navarro Barreto
José “Cheo” Navarro was born in San Agustín parish, Caracas, Venezuela on April 19, 1952. While still a child, his family moved to La Cañada de Jesús and later the 23 de Enero parish, the family Navarro Barreto settled in block 6 of the Monte Piedad sector where he spent his adolescence. The first name of the great “Cheo” is José Natalio Navarro Barreto.
The name and the musical activity of “Cheo Navarro” is substantial and unavoidable for salsa made in Caracas. This percussionist and bandleader has always been at the heart of Caribbean music in such a manner that we will always find a reference to him in various salsa phenomena of the country.
It was from the year 1971 when he got involved with the orchestra of Tito Rodriguez in such a way that he never wanted to do anything else but play like those folks (since he did it by beating every book, container and pot lid he could find at home with pencils and sticks), eventually joining other fans of music to found the group Mango (he was 21 years old at the time). He won the respect of those in the know by performing with that group, where he contended with the best in Caribbean music at that time.
In addition to founding orchestras that are already part of our musical and sentimental history (Mango, Sensación, Bailatino and now Cheo Navarro and his Orquesta Tributo), he played and composed for other leading orchestras such as the Sexteto Juventud, Federico y su Combo Latino, El Trabuco Venezolano, La Crítica de Oscar de León, the Orquesta Renovación, Coco y su Sabor Matancero, and Naty y su Orquesta; He has also collaborated with the orchestras of Orlando Castillo “Orlando Watussi””, Alfredo Naranjo Carvajal and his Guafeo, and “Pavo” Frank. As for the international soneo, he has played with Jhonny Pacheco, Ismael Miranda Carrero, Andy Montañez, Cheo Feliciano, Héctor Lavoe, Daniel Santos, Pete “Conde” Rodríguez and a plethora that is no longer necessary and, maybe, impossible to list in full.
Is probably his most important composition and the song the salseros of lineage and also those who were not necessarily salseros remember the most, but they had their sense of hearing working just fine, during the 70s and 80s.
He is much loved in Block 6 of the 23 de Enero parish they appreciate him with the same reverent generosity
with which the poor towns pay tribute to their genuine icons: He is the illustrious neighbor who has made and makes them dance and, in time, he is the simple man of the people whose stature is found in the work and not in vanity.
The music industry has not been as generous as it should have been with this gentleman. With him, who has been making great efforts to pay homage to the gods of his musical devotion. The sonorities of his orchestral works are a lasting tribute to the giants of flavor.
The fame that, using payola and other resources, has managed to raise up other names in this business and in history. But being face to face, musician to musician, with anyone, Cheo Navarro qualifies to be one of those fundamental icons who are worthy of being pleasantly remembered, rooted in his people and in urban culture.