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Cuban Blues
     

Cuban Blues

by Chico O'Farrill
 
During the first blush of mambomania, one composer-arranger emerged as the music's class act -- Chico O'Farrill, whose sophisticated knowledge of jazz harmonies and the rhythms of his native Cuba as unimpeachable. He wrote -- and, in the late '90s, continues to write -- some of the most glamorous, ambitious orchestral music jazz has ever heard. Fortunately, from 1950

Overview

During the first blush of mambomania, one composer-arranger emerged as the music's class act -- Chico O'Farrill, whose sophisticated knowledge of jazz harmonies and the rhythms of his native Cuba as unimpeachable. He wrote -- and, in the late '90s, continues to write -- some of the most glamorous, ambitious orchestral music jazz has ever heard. Fortunately, from 1950 to 1954 O'Farrill had a patron saint in Norman Granz, the farsighted record producer who gave carte blanche to O'Farrill's imagination. This double CD packs about two and a half hours of lush, heady orchestral works, including the landmark "Afro-Cuban Suite," featuring the Machito Orchestra with such guests as Charlie Parker, Flip Phillips, and Buddy Rich; the less familiar, but no less stunning, "Second Afro-Cuban Jazz Suite," and 43 other originals and Cuban standards, all magnificently played by the crémé de la crémé of the early '50s Latin and jazz worlds: Mario Bauza, Roy Eldridge, Candido, Jo Jones, Rene Hernandez, and Bill Harris, among them. Sublime.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richard S. Ginell
For any and all Latin jazz collectors, casual or serious, this is a fabulous deal, for it gathers together no less than six exceedingly rare Chico O'Farrill Clef and Norgran 10" albums, plus one under Machito's name, onto a slimline two-CD set. It will also come as a revelation to anyone who might scoff at anything associated with the 1950s mambo craze, for these discs reveal O'Farrill as a sophisticated, even daring arranger/composer who reached beyond merely providing a beat for dancers. Many of these charts -- whether for the brief, dance-oriented Latin numbers; ultra-familiar standards like "Malaguena" and "The Peanut Vendor"; or jazz tunes -- are loaded with intricate figures and striking harmonies obviously gleaned from classical study, all crisply executed with a brash, shiny edge by his Afro-Cuban groups and bands staffed by American jazzmen. Occasionally, he even conjures a delicate, classical ambience from a number like "Angels' Flight" (named after Los Angeles' legendary downtown funicular). The apotheosis of O'Farrill's experiments are his two full-blown, groundbreaking Afro-Cuban jazz suites. The first features Flip Phillips and the redoubtable Charlie Parker as soloists within the Machito band, and the second is even bolder in its zigzag journey through the classical, Latin, and jazz camps. Yet for all of his erudition, O'Farrill never forgets to ask for madly percolating Afro-Cuban grooves from his rhythm teams -- which clinches the deal for any Latin music fan.

Product Details

Release Date:
11/05/1996
Label:
Polygram Records
UPC:
0731453325623
catalogNumber:
533256

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Chico O'Farrill   Primary Artist,Conductor
Machito   Maracas
Billy Bauer   Guitar
Eddie Bert   Trombone
Harry Edison   Trumpet
Roy Eldridge   Trumpet
Herb Geller   Reeds,Alto Saxophone
Bill Harris   Trombone
Jo Jones   Drums
Flip Phillips   Reeds,Tenor Saxophone
Don Bagley   Bass
Ralph Burns   Piano
Lenny Hambro   Reeds,Alto Saxophone
Nick Travis   Trumpet
Stu Williamson   Trumpet
Don Lamond   Drums
Herbie Steward   Reeds,Tenor Saxophone
Luis Miranda   Conga
Chano Pozo   Conga
Charlie Kennedy   Alto Saxophone
Porcino   Trumpet
Danny Banks   Reeds,Baritone Saxophone
Mario Bauzá   Trumpet
George Berg   Reeds,Alto Saxophone
Ray Brown   Bass
Candido Camero   Bongos
Don Davidson   Reeds,Baritone Saxophone
Gene DiNovi   Piano
Vern Friley   Trombone
Bernie Glow   Trumpet
Clyde Lombardi   Bass
Jose Madera   Tenor Saxophone
Jose Mangual   Bongos
Pete Mondello   Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
Ubaldo Nieto   Timbales
Jimmy Nottingham   Trumpet
Fred Otis   Piano
Charlie Parker   Alto Saxophone
Roberto Rodriguez   Bass
Wilbur Schwartz   Reeds
Dick Sherman   Trumpet
Fred Skerritt   Alto Saxophone
Bart Varsalona   Trombone
Carlos Vidal   Conga
Ollie Wilson   Trombone
Freddie Zito   Trombone
Vincent DeRosa   French Horn
Jackie Mills   Drums
Irma Clow   Harp
Sol Rabinowitz   Tenor Saxophone
Doug Mettome   Trumpet
Ben Harrod   Reeds,Alto Saxophone
Leslie Johnakins   Baritone Saxophone
Howard Terry   Reeds
Paquito Davilla   Trumpet
Bobby Woodlen   Trumpet
Warren Webb   Reeds
Carlton McBeath   Trumpet
Louis Obergh   Trumpet
Modesto Martinez   Percussion
Bobby Escoto   Vocals
Stewart   Trumpet
James Williamson   Reeds
Gene Johnson   Alto Saxophone
Carl Elmer   Trombone

Technical Credits

George Gershwin   Composer
Irving Berlin   Composer
Norman Granz   Producer
Ira Gershwin   Composer
Antonio Carlos Jobim   Composer
Chico O'Farrill   Arranger,Composer
Bob Russell   Composer
Richard Seidel   Executive Producer
Bert Russell   Composer
Margarita Lecuona   Composer
Lisa Po-Ying Huang   Art Direction
Oscar Hijuelos   Liner Notes
Bea Mullings   Interviewer
Abelardo Valdez   Composer
Abelardito Valdes   Composer

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