THE BIG 3 PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA

Afro-Cuban Jazz • United States
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In the 1950’s America fell in love with the MAMBO and “The Home of Mambo” was the PALLADIUM BALLROOM at 53rd Street & Broadway. Re-named The Palladium from Alma Dance Studio in 1946, six local bands were booked with MACHITO the headliner. This continued playing to huge audiences of all colours and creeds until 1948 when TITO PUENTE appeared as a bandleader for the first time. Later, singer TITO RODRIGUEZ and his band became a major crowd-puller and competed with Machito & Puente as the star act; thus THE BIG 3. The Palladium was the heart of Mambo & Latin music until it closed in 1966.

The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra is the brain-child of Machito's son Mario Grillo. After a discussion with Ina Dittke (then at BPR) & Jyrki Kangas (Pori Jazz Festival) in New York, it was decided to approach the Puente & Rodriguez families to represent the music of the Palladium era. Margaret Puente and Tito Rodriguez
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Thanks to js for the addition and snobb, Matt for the updates

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THE BIG 3 PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Live at the Blue Note album cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
Live at the Blue Note
Afro-Cuban Jazz 2004

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THE BIG 3 PALLADIUM ORCHESTRA Live at the Blue Note

Live album · 2004 · Afro-Cuban Jazz
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Matt
His first timbale solo was at the Palladium Ballroom accompanying Tito Puente and he was only five years old. Machito Jr did not waste any time getting into a musical career and took over the reigns of his fathers orchestra in 1975 when Mario Bauza called it a day and left after being with Machito in his orchestra for 36 years.Machito Jr. wanted to re-create his fathers music and especially the atmosphere that was present at The Palladium Ballroom which hosted the biggest names in Cuban Jazz with Machito being the first but Tito Rodriguez and later Tito Puente really gave Machito a run for his money as they woo-ed the crowds as well. It was exciting with all these top bands playing on a regular basis and the three main participants in this album are the sons of those great men in Latin and Jazz music. Mario Bauza is credited with the first Latin Jazz tune being "Tanga" but it is all a matter of conjecture. He was most likely the most famous to do it first while he worked with Machito.The Orchestra all came about when Machito Jr approached the Rodriguez and the Puente families and suggested they play all those great old tunes. He even borrowed the original charts from them for the project and before you know it Tito Rodriguez Jr and Tito Puente Jr were in the band. All the musicians within the orchestra were picked from the all the main men's own bands and many played with their fathers as well. Bobby Porcelli is on alto saxophone and he did play with all of their fathers at times and a wiz he is with how he blows that horn. Charles Lagond is on Tenor saxophone which is just one of many instruments he is proficient at and the same goes for Bobby who I just mentioned but Saxophone is their mainstays.Charles Lagond has an absolute wealth of experience and just to name a few, Jackson Five, Temptations, Brecker Brothers, Chet Baker, Buddy Rich, also squeezes in time to play in Tito Puente Jr's current band and if that is not enough he runs his own music school.I could go on about the calibre of the band for pages but do not worry they all have it, the whole 21 one of them. Each of the three main muscians play their own fathers charts with stunning results and before the date of this recording in March 2004 the band had been playing for two years and getting rave reviews where ever they played. All three, Machito Jr, Tito Rodriguez Jr and Tito Puente Jr are all running there own bands whilst playing in The Palladium Orchestra together and as with musicians who play regularly they are in top form.

Recorded live at The Blue Note and "Cuban Fantasy" the classic composition by Ray Bryant begins the concert with one slamming intro with the horns and the saxophone section trading licks while Charles Legrand starts a driver of a solo on tenor and the brass just keep kicking in. Marshall Gilkes on trombone gets the same treatment with his turn and over the percussion it is just a great explosion for the albums begining. "Piniero Tenia Razon" the Machito number is the following with vocals and the Son comes out with kick. The orchestra throughout have great interaction and their take on Machito's "Mambo Inn" is full on contempary but the old feel is still there from the early fifties. Bobby Porcelli plays one ripper on alto followed by Chris Washbourne on trombone win the same ripper fashion. This band just explodes and Machito Jr is hammering away on timbales."Babarabatiri" follows along and the vocals are back and so is Bobby with another on alto but trumpet is next with John Carlson blowing for all his is worth. The entire album does not slow down for one minute and the orchestra, soloists and vocalists, one who is Herman Olivera are simply superb. There are 13 explosive numbers and that is the only description that you can use to describe this wonderful live album but the finisher "Oye Como Va" by Tito Puente is given The Big 3 treatment with superb results and "Oye Como Va" will be what you are singing with the coros yourself on this absolute kicker of a version.

All three Jr's, Machito and both Titos have captured the Palladium days with wonderful contempary results and I for one are hoping that we get another from this wonderful band soon with "Blen Blen Blen" by the great Chano Pozo on it and given that Big 3 treatment as well.

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