Machito evrent poster
Modeled after the highly acclaimed retrospective of Tito Puente in 2017, the Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture will honor the late iconic singer and bandleader Francisco “Machito” Grillo (1908-1984) and his Orchestra (the Afro-Cubans) in a 3-day celebration May 2-4 on the campus of Hostos Community College, 450 Grand Concourse (at 149th Street) in the Bronx.
“Machito & the Impact of the Afro-Cubans at 80” examines the Orchestra’s influence on a variety of Latin musical styles, including Latin jazz that affected the music of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Stan Kenton and others. The festival’s ten events, many free, also delve into the careers and impact of Machito's family members and musical partners in the Afro-Cubans – Mario Bauzá (1911- 1993) and vocalist Graciela (1915-2010), known as the “First Lady of Latin Jazz.” Bauzá, was a talented multi-instrumentalist who served as musical director of his brother-in-law’s orchestra and encouraged Machito to embrace American jazz with Cuban rhythms. After Machito was drafted in the Army, Bauzá brought Machito’s sister Graciela (Peréz-Gutiérrez) from Cuba to join the band as lead singer. After Machito’s return from service, the three shared the stage for 32 years, topping the charts and reigning supreme at New York’s Palladium Ballroom in its heyday.  Machito was the eldest of “The Three Kings” – the moniker given to the celebrated band leaders that performed at the Palladium  – the others being Tito Puente, who was a timbalist in Machito’s Afro-Cubans in 1941, and the singer Tito Rodríguez who made his last public appearance with Machito in 1973.
Under the artistic direction of Machito's son, Mario Grillo, as well as Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra bassist and composer Carlos Henríquez and Latin music historian Joe Conzo, Sr., the festival is designed for both Machito enthusiasts and those less familiar with his music.  Henríquez leads “Machito and Beyond” on Thursday, May 2, at 7:30 PM, in a concert that includes acclaimed vocalist Cita Rodríguez, a host of New York’s top young jazz musicians, plus some legendary percussion veterans, for a youthful take on some Machito classics. Bobby Sanabria & Ascensión will take to the stage in a free family concert on Saturday, May 4, at 11 AM, with an informative performance demonstrating how Machito & the Afro-Cubans brought Cuban forms to Latin jazz. The final concert on Saturday, May 4 at 7:30 PM features The Machito Orchestra in its 80th Anniversary concert under the direction of Mario Grillo, who carries on his father's legacy, and featuring guest vocalist and two-time Grammy winner Herman Olivera. In addition to these concerts, the three-day celebration includes listening sessions, a panel discussion, a film presentation, a museum exhibit with tour, a Latin rhythm workshop, and a closing Mambo Dance Party in the Hostos Café.
Tickets, including 3-day passes for $45, and a schedule of events are available at or by calling (718) 518-4455.
For a complete schedule of events, click HERE.
Press contact: John MacElwee - 718-518-6539,