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COMPOSERS: Mario Bauza
LABELS: Messidor
WORKS: Tanga
PERFORMER: Mario Bauza and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra


Mario Bauza feels strongly that he has never been given credit for his pioneering work in the creation of Afro-Cuban jazz in the mid-Forties. As musical director for the orchestra of his brother-in-law, he saw the plaudits for his work go to Machito, the famous bandleader. For decades Dizzy Gillespie, with whom he once played in Cab Calloway’s band, was alone in recognising Bauza’s role. Things are changing, however.


He was music consultant last year for the film Mambo Kings and is hailed as ‘the legendary Mambo King’ on the cover of this release. Now in his eighties, Bauza regularly performs with his orchestra in New York, and this powerful representation of his work, largely a collaboration with arranger Chico O’Farrell, shows the extent to which his light was for so long hidden under Machito’s bushel. Stuart Nicholson