The legendary "Machito Orchestra" was founded in New York in 1939 by Cuban vocalist Frank"Machito" Grillo. Mario Bauza joined the band as Director in 1940. They were initially named "Machito and his Afro-Cubans," and they revolutionized Latin music with its fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms and big band Jazz sounds. Their wildly successful Latin Nights launched the legendary Palladium Ballroom. One of the city's most popular orchestras for decades, the band included a "who's who" guest list of musicians over the years, including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Buddy Rich, Cannonball Adderley, Johnny Griffin, Lew Soloff, and Jon Faddis. The band's 1943 hit "Tanga" is considered one of the first Afro-Cuban Jazz tunes to be recorded. In 1947, the orchestra performed the first Latin-Jazz concert ever held at New York's Town Hall, sharing the bill with the Stan Kenton Orchestra. Throughout the 70s, 80's, 90's, and the new millenium, the band continues to tour extensively around the world, creating new aficionados of Machito's Cuban Salsa and Afro-Cuban Jazz. Between tours, Machito served as a volunteer counselor to youths and seniors at Project Return,and the Senior Citizens Outreach Center. His 1982 cd,''MACHITO AND HIS SALSA BIG BAND'' earned him a GRAMMY® Award, for Best Latin Album,for Timeless Records,recorded in Holland,during one of his many European tours.
In 1984, Machito died while on tour in London at age 75. His presence lives on with the Machito Orchestra, led by his son, multi-percussionist Mario Grillo, and the band remains at the vanguard of the Latin music movement, playing concerts, dances, and clubs around the world, whilst retaining a strong "Afro-Cuban" foundation. Biography;Mario Grillo.Mario was born 1956,New York City,reared in ''El Barrio'' and The Bronx,as a 5 year old he played his first gig at ''The Palladium'',playing a timbale solo while standing on a chair with ''The King'',Tito Puente.Mario says,''there was a simple formula in my home,1.my Uncle Mario Bauza picked my teachers,2.my dad paid,3.my mother,Hilda Torres Grillo,made me practice for an hour,every single day of my life,I will be forever grateful for her belief in me and her love''.Living in NYC gave him the chance to study with some of the most notable drum teachers and authors in the world of drums.''Having the opportunity to study with Henry Adler,Ted Reed,Joel Rothman,Sam Ulano,and just about every drummer under the sun like,Elvin Jones,Connie Kay,Art Blakey,on and on and on,at ''Frank Ippolito's Professional Percussion Center on 50th. St. and 8th. Ave.,considered the home of the greatest percussionists in NYC'',solidified his musical training.The learning and teaching continues with clinics around the world,TOCA,SABIAN,EVANS,VIC FIRTH are awesome companies to represent,and he enjoys it...''it's very important to share knowledge,and when you represent such incredible companies,that is always first''.''I started playing in Dad's band when I was a freshman at Rice H.S.,so it's been an unbelievable ride,''around the world in 80 days'',would be the best phrase to use,I look forward to continuing the musical legacy which has been left for me to safeguard and take the music of Machito Orchestra near and far''.
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