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World Music CD Reviews Greater Latin America

MACHITO AND HIS AFROCUBAN ORCHESTA

By Tom Orr
Published September 13, 2005

Mambo Mucho Mambo: The Complete Columbia Masters
Columbia/Legacy

It's been over 60 years since the charismatic vocalist/ bandleader Frank "Machito" Grillo and trumpeter/arranger/composer Mario Bauza combined the rhythms of their native Cuba with Big Apple jazz. The resulting style, Afro-Cuban jazz, has seen incarnations embracing deep roots, crossover popularity, and everything in between, but it all began with Machito and Mario. By 1947, their orchestra was one of the hottest bands in NYC, routinely firing up crowds at the Palladium Ballroom and forever influencing future generations of Latin and jazz musicians. Mambo Mucho Mambo is loaded with classic tracks recorded by Machito and co. for the Colombia label in the 1950s, and showcases the infectiousness and versatility they were known for.