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Latin Jazz: A Legitimate American Music

AAJ Staff By

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Machito's music influenced many of the Latin bandleaders that followed and many American musicians as well. Charlie Parker, Buddy Rich and Flip Phillips recorded with the Machito Orchestra. Dizzy Gillespie consulted with Mario and Machito when he was looking for a conga drummer for his own AfroCuban jazz (or Cubop) experiments. Machito and Mario suggested Chano Pozo to Dizzy and history was made again. Stan Kenton openly stated his affection for the orchestra and he named one of his compositions "Machito." Tito Puente, who played with Machito as a youngster, often said that his mentors were Mario and Machito. In later years, jazz musicians like Dexter Gordon, Cannonball Adderley, Herbie Mann and Johnny Griffin performed and recorded with Machito. Leonard Bernstein even used Machito's music as an example of real jazz on his famous television broadcasts in the '50s.

US Latin jazz continued to develop throughout the '50s-60s with stellar contributions from Kenton, George Shearing, Cal Tjader, Jack Costanzo, Herbie Mann, Tito Puente, Pucho & the Latin Soul Brothers, Sabu Martinez, Hugo Dickens, Mongo Santamaria, Willie Bobo, Chick Corea, Chico O'Farrill, Lalo Schifrin and more. In recent years, North American Latin jazz has produced artists like Poncho Sanchez, Jerry Gonzalez, Papo Vasquez, Hilton Ruiz, Arturo O'Farrill, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Danilo Perez and countless others. All these musicians have contributed their personalized unique vision to the further development of North American Latin jazz.

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