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Machito (Glen Island Casino, New York, 1947. Photo: William P. Gottlieb )

Machito (born February 16, 1912 in Havana , Cuba , † April 15, 1984 in London ; actually Francisco Raúl Gutiérrez Grillo ) was a Cuban Latin jazz musician and band leader.

In 1937 he emigrated to the United States of America , where he sang with Xavier Cugat and Noro Morales , among others . In 1940 he founded the Afro-Cubans with his brother-in-law Mario Bauzá as musical director. Machito sang and played maracas . He was known for the Afro-Cuban rhythms in his music such as mambo , rumba , cha-cha-cha , cubop , pachanga and son montuno . His band, which consisted of about twenty musicians, influenced the history of Latin jazz in the 1940s and 1950s. In 1950 he played Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite with Charlie Parker as a guest soloist. Other important jazz musicians such as Flip Phillips also played as guest soloists with his Afro-Cubans ; Arranger in the 1980s was Jorge Anders from Argentina , but also his saxophonist Ray Santos . He worked several times with Dizzy Gillespie . In the mid-1970s, Machito toured with a smaller cast for the first time. Always open to new trends and styles of South American music, he also devoted himself to salsa . In 1983 he won a Grammy with Machito & His Salsa Big Band '82 .

His sister Graciela was also a singer for the Afro-Cubans , who were later led by his son.

In 1984 Machito suffered a heart attack shortly before a concert at Ronnie Scott's jazz club and died four days later in a hospital in London .


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