Friday, June 19, 2009


One of the key innovators in Latin jazz, percussionist Frank "Machito" Grillo fused deep percussive grooves with high-intensity horn sections and work by some of the greatest soloists of his era. His bands of the 1940s were probably the first to achieve a fusion of powerful Afro Cuban rhythms and jazz improvisation.

Machito and His Afro-Cubans, to give the band its full name, was the first black-identified Latin band in New York. They inspired Dizzy Gillespie to create his Afro-Cuban bop fusion, but they're barely mentioned in most histories of big-band jazz -- which tells me jazz history needs rewriting, because they were one of the greatest big bands in the history of American music. This album was originally recorded for United Artists and is also known as Mucho Mucho Machito. Sample any four bars of rhythm section; when the horns drop out, there's space for a whole universe.

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