The Afro-Cubans were a Afro-Latin-Jazz band founded by Machito in 1940; often billed as Machito and his Afro-Cubans. Their musical director was Mario Bauza’, Machito’s brother-in-law.
The Afro-Cubans combined the Cuban mambo with orchestrations derived from the swing era. Also, the Afro-Cubans played with and incorporated the music of many luminaries in jazz, but the association went both ways, as the Latin rhythms of the Afro-Cubans strongly influenced the jazz scene in New York.
After making some early 78s for Decca, the Afro-Cubans came to increased prominence towards the end of World War II, appearing with Stan Kenton’s orchestra. (Machito played maracas on Kenton’s recordings of “The Peanut Vendor” and “Cuban Carnival”) and recorded for Mercury and Clef. Playing regularly at New York’s Palladium Ballroom. Machito’s band had its highest reach during the mambo craze of the 1950s, survived the upheavals of the 1960s and despite the loss of Bauzá in 1976, continued to work frequently.
The band was signed up by Tico’s George Goldner who released “Asia Minor” in 1956. This album boasts an array of Jazz and Latin orchestrations written by Bauza’. Machito’s inimitable singing style are displayed throughout the album as well as Graciela (Machito’s sister) in “No Me Molesto”. “El Bodeguero”, “Tibiri Tabara”, “Quimbombo”, and “Besame La Bembita”. This album was produced during the cha-cha-cha era and features a great arrangements for cha-cha enthusiasts.