Machito (& Chico O'Farrill)




The "little tough guy" Francisco Raúl Grillo was born in Florida of Cuban parents who returned to Cuba. Arriving in New York City in 1937, he played in the Xavier Cugat and Noro Morales orchestras before starting his own band. In 1940 his brother-in-law Mario Bauzá, jazz trumpeter and arranger-composer extraordinaire known for the standard "Tanga," joined him and stayed for the next thirty-five years. At first, Miguelito Valdés handled the singing duties, but Machito and his sister Graciela became the chief vocalists.

Machito and his Afro-Cubans, including Bauzá, René Hernández, and Chico O'Farrill, along with Dizzy Gillespie, played a pivotal role in the acceptance of Latin rhythms by American jazzmen. These top arrangers were attuned to the leading big bands of the day and rivalled them while breaking new ground in Latin and Latin jazz. This led to an association with Norman Granz, whose recording "experiments" with Machito and Charlie Parker and others became historic achievements. Machito and his Afro-Cubans also performed compositions by Chano Pozo, Obdulio Morales, and others.

In pre-War years as well as later, as one of the Tico artists, Machito brought important Latin works and musicians to wider acceptance. His sister Graciela appears consistently as lead female vocalist. Tito Puente, Chino Pozo, and others learned much about the business during stints with the band. WWII took away Puente and Pozo just as some Mario Bauza was coming up with some of their most important breakthroughs. (1943's "Tanga" became the anthem of a new idiom, Afro-Cuban jazz.) Further, Machito's orchestra backed singers on many labels, including Coda and SMC, often without credit in observation of contractual obligations.

Over the decades Machito maintained his jazz sensibility while doing the Latin dance-orchestra duty. He scaled back the band to an octet to tour but reformed the Afro-Cubans in 1981. (As with the posthumous Xavier Cugat Orchestra, Machito's band continued after his death in 1984.) While later Latin rhythms such as cha cha cha and mambo all were in Machito's bag, his fame rests on playing Afro-Cuban (rumba) and establishing Latin jazz.

Buying: Machito's Afro-Cuban jazz from any period is hard to beat, and shades of it usually turn up even in his more mundane Latin dance-orchestra LPs. Collectors prize the early Norman Grantz productions and any 78 on the rare Verne label. But the early Tico, Decca, and off-label records also are great collectors items and usually have great sound. Anyone can appreciate the Cotique and Tico/Roulette items. The cover of "Green Onions" on the otherwise dismissable Goes Memphis is a monster surprise.



[Partly] Machito/O'Farrill 10" LPs

Rating
8Miguelito Valdes w/Machito & his Afro-Cubans: Bim Bam Boom--An Album of Cuban Rhythms; Decca DL-5113; (c)1949/1942
7Machito & his Afro-Cubans: Souvenir Album; Decca DL-5157; (c)1949/1942
Machito & his Afro-Cubans w/Miguelito Valdes: Afro-Cuban Music; Decca DL-5281; 1942
7Machito w/Flip & Bird: Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite; Mercury MGC-505; 1948
7Machito Jazz w/Flip & Bird; Mercury MGC-511; 1949/1948
8Chico O'Farrill: The Second Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite; Norgran MG-N-9; rec. 1951
7Chico O'Farrill: Mambo Dance Session; Norgran MG-N-27; 1954
7Chico O'Farrill: Latino Dance Session; Norgran MG-N-28; 1954
8Chico O'Farrill: Afro-Cuban; Clef MG-C-131
6Various: Rumba; Remington RLP-1009; 1950
8Machito: Latin American Rhythms; Mercury MG-25009
6Machito: Rhumba with Machito; Mercury MG-25020
Machito: [unknown but probably Mambo with Machito; Mercury]
6Fiesta Time (Side 2 is Lazaro Quintero Orchestra); Plymouth P-100-29; c.1952 (Remington R-1034; 1953; prod. Don Gabor)
8Machito Plays the Cha Cha Cha; Tico LP-138; 1955 (disc may be titled El Niche; seems to be the forerunner of 12" LP-1002)
7Baile con Machito y sus Afro Cubans; Seeco SLP-30 (on 10-cut 12" as Dance Date with Machito; Palladium PLP-111)


Machito/O'Farrill 12" LPs

Rating
7Chico O'Farrill & his Orchestra: Tropical Fever; Fiesta FLP-1258
7Chico O'Farrill y orquesta: Brisas del Caribe; Orfeon LP-12-168 (con Girardo Rodriguez y sus Tambores Bata; cantan Romelio Rodriguez, Chico Andrade, Tono Montane, Tono Jimenez)
7Chico O'Farrill & his Cubans: Mambo-Latino Dances; Verve MG-V-2003 (reissues the 1954 Norgran sets N-27 and N-28 except 4 cuts left out, and 1 not from those)
4Machito: Mambo Holiday; Columbia/Harmony HL-7040 (reissued later w/saucier jacket)
6Machito: Vacation at the Concord; Decca/Coral 757258; 1958
7Machito y sus Afro Cubans; Decca DL-4505 (reissues 10" DL-5157 & adds 4; stereo version DL-74505 is synthesized)
8Miguelito Valdes w/Machito & his Afro-Cubans: Cuban Nights; Decca DL-8716; 1957?/1942 (reissues 1/2 of 10" LP DL-5113)
8Miguelito Valdes y Machito: Los Reyes del Ritmo/The Kings of Rhythm; Decca DL-4595; 1958?/1942 (reissues 1/2 of 10" LP DL-5113)
6Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra: Machito Plays Mambo; Seeco Gold Series SCLP-9075 (gold-label original has conga/singer jacket; spectral reissue has Machito's face)
6Machito y sus Afro-Cubanos: Tremendo Cumban; Seeco/Tropical TRLP-5063
8Machito: Cha Cha Cha at the Palladium; Tico LP-1002 (rare; probably reissues 10" LP-138 with four added cuts)
6Machito: Asia Minor; Tico LP-1029 (rare except on Forum)
8Machito: Si:Si, No:No; Tico LP-1033 (original jacket not text-only)
8Machito: Kenya--Afro-Cuban Jazz; Roulette Birdland SR-52006; 1958 (reissued as Latin Soul Plus Jazz; Roulette)
8Machito & his Jazz Orchestra; Roulette; 1958 (reissued as 1. Machito & his Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble: Machito with Flute to Boot; Roulette Birdland SR-52026; 2. Herbie Mann w/Machito & his Afro-Cuban Jazz Ensemble: Afro-Jazziac; Roulette Birdland SR-52122; 3. Herbie Mann w/Machito & his Jazz Orchestra: Super Mann; Trip TLP-5031)
7Machito Inspired (Machito is inspired by Darryl F. Zanuck's production of Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises"); Tico LP-1045
7Mi Amigo, Machito; Tico SLP-1053; 1959 (rare except on Forum)
5Machito: Irving Berlin in Latin America; Tico SLP-1062; 1960 (Forum Circle SF-9040)
6Machito: A Night Out; Tico SLP-1074; 1961
8Machito: The New Sound of Machito; Tico SLP-1084; 1962 (partly Latin-jazz/mambo)
8Machito's Variedades!!!; Tico SLP-1090; 1963
8Machito: Tremendo Cumban!; Tico SLP-1094 (w/some mod Latin twist/rock instrumentals)
Alfredito Valdez (w/Machito?): Viva Valdez; Tico SLP-1095
7Reunion: Miguelito Valdes with Machito; Tico SLP-1098
Graciela & Machito: Este es Graciela; Tico SLP-1107
Graciela & Machito: Intimo y Sentimiento; Tico SLP-1123
6The Best of Machito & his Afro-Cubans with Graciela; Tico CLP-1328; 1974
6Machito at the Crescendo; GNP Crescendo GNP-58 (w/Graciela; partly Latin jazz)
6The World's Greatest Latin Band; GNP Crescendo GNP-72 (w/Graciela; 2 cuts veer into Latin jazz)
7Machito Goes Memphis; RCA Victor LSP-3944; 1968 (mod Latin soul/mod soul/boogaloo; w/Mario Bauza, Bert DeCoteaux, Joe Medlin, Richard Marin)
8Soul of Machito; Cotique CS-1019; 1968 (w/Graciela)
7Machito; Mericana MYS-110; 1972 (Machito, Graciela, Mario Bauza..)
Machito: Fireworks; Coco LP 131X
Machito & his Salsa Big Band 1982; Timeless SJP-161; 1983/1982
Machito & his Salsa Big Band Live at the North Sea Festival; Timeless SJP-168; 1983
6Machito & his Salsa Big Band: Machito!!!; Timeless SJP-183; 1983
8Mucho Macho Machito & his Afro-Cuban Salseros; Pablo 2625-712; ?/1948-9 (2-LP compilation of 3 10" Mercury/Clef LPs: 25009, 25020, [mambo LP]; w/booklet)


Partly Machito/O'Farrill 12" LPs

Rating
7Cuarteto D'Aida: Evening at the Sans Souci; RCA Victor LPM-1532; 1957 (female vocal quartet w/Chico O'Farrill orchestra)
Bernie Miller: [?] GNP (rhythm section only)
7Noro Morales y Su Orquesta: Mambos y Guarachas; Decca DL-74535
Tito Puente en el Puente (on the Bridge); Tico SLP-1191
[Machito Presents] Mauricio Smith: Flauta Nova; Tico SLP-1089; 1963
7Various: Afro-Cuban Jazz; Polydor/Verve VE-2-2522; 1977 (2-LP reissue anthology)
7Various: Canciones Mi Mama No Me Enseno/Spanish Songs Mama Never Taught Me; Tico SLP-1111 (Joe Cuba, Miguelito Valdes, Tito Puente, Machito, Graciela)
6Various: Cha Cha Cha Carnival; Tico/Forum SF-9051 (Tico/Forum Circle FCS-9096)
8Various: Hi-C Presents the Cotique All Stars Associated Artists; Cotique Hi-C 1 (jacket: "The Makers of Hi-C Fruit Drinks Present In the Latin Flavor/Sabor Latino"; "Ahora Si" from The Soul of Machito)
7Various: Latin Golden Oldies for Dancing Vol. 1; Tico SLP-1097; 1959 (very abridged version of "Twist Changa")
6Various: Latin Spectacular--Starring Tito Puente; Guest Star GS-1407 (Alfredito, Puente, Machito "Frenzy", Joe Loco, Tito Rodriguez, Martino Savanto)
4Various: Let's Dance the Cha Cha Cha; Seeco SCLP-9054
8Various: Mambo Mucho Mambo; Columbia CL-626 (w/Belmonte & Cugat)
7Various: Mambo Caravan; Tico LP-1007 (Joe Loco, Machito, Tito Puente)
7Various: Mas Canciones Mi Mama No Me Enseno/More Spanish Songs Mama Never Taught Me; Tico SLP-1120 (same artists)
8Various: Los Mejores Musicos de Cuba--instrumental; Rumba 55524 (Bebo Valdez, Chico O'Farrill, Cachao, Pepe Delgado, Walfredo de los Reyes, Peruchin..)
8Various: The Most of the Twist; Roulette SR-25176 ("Twist Changa")
7Various: Salsa Disco Fever; Coco 152X; 1978 ("Mi Ritmo Llego" from Coco LP 131X)
6Various: Tico Selector (Tico Gallery); Tico TS-1
6Various: Tito Puente; Embajador E-6006
4Various: Tito Rodriguez--Latin Fiesta; Guest Star GS-1422


Machito/O'Farrill 7" 45s & EPs

Rating
Chico O'Farrill: Mambo Dance Session; Norgran MG-N-39
Chico O'Farrill: Mambo Dance Session; Norgran MG-N-40
7Chico O'Farrill: Latino Dance Session; Norgran MG-N-58
7Chico O'Farrill: Latino Dance Session; Norgran MG-N-59
8Machito & his Orchestra: Vive Como Yo (vocal by Graciela)/Tumba el Quinto; Mercury 5398
7Machito Plays the Cha Cha Cha; Tico EP-52
Machito; Tico EP-53
Machito; Tico EP-61
Machito; Tico EP-62
7Machito & his Afro-Cuban Orch.: Holiday Mambo/Si Si--No No; Perfect 4000 (same as Tico)
8Machito & his Orchestra: Twist Changa Parts 1 & 2; Roulette R-4402 (Latin twist; full-length as opposed to abridged version on LP comps)


Machito/O'Farrill 78s

Rating
8Chico O'Farrill: Flamingo/Carioca; Mercury 8966
8Machito y su Orquesta: Cada Loco con su Tema/Mulata Soy Yo; Verne V-0011 (Graciela sings B-side)
8Machito & his Afro-Cuban Orchestra: Mambo a la Savoy (vocal by the Skylarks)/Que Me Falta? (vocal by Graciela); Columbia 39435


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