Joe Bataan was born Bataan Nitollano in 1942 to African-American/Filipino parents in Spanish Harlem where he briefly led the Dragons, a local Puerto Rican street gang, before being sent to the Coxsackie Correctional Facility to serve time for a stolen car charge and that’s when he turned his life around.
Joe learned piano and music theory during his 5 years inside and emerged onto the New York boogaloo scene like a butterfly, becoming the flagship act for Fania records before starting SalSoul records. During the 80/90s/00s he became a social worker working with kids from his own humble and vulnerable beginnings, serving as a role model to inspire them away from the darker side of life. Joe returned to recording in 2005 and continues to perform
You can hear his chat with Ady here: