January 15, 2012

Cugat with sometimes Muse. A cornerstone in bringing Latin Jazz to the States.

Big Band this week - actually Big Latin Band this week. Xavier Cugat and his orchestra performing live at the Last Frontier in Las Vegas (not sure if the announcer meant The Frontier but . . .) and recorded by NBC on November 30, 1953.

Xavier Cugat is probably best remembered as the band leader who brought Latin Jazz to the U.S. - dubbed The King Of The Rhumba, he put Latin Music pretty much in the mainstream from the 1940's onwards and paved the way for a lot of artists to expose their work to the American audience and turn on a lot of Jazz people on to the heady style of Cuban and Afro-Cuban music.

Towards the end of his set he plays the iconic Mambo #5 which was made an international hit by another Cuban bandleader, Perez Prado around the same time - so if it sounds familiar but not quite, that's the reason.

Something just a bit different this week - but swingin' nonetheless.

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