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Machito

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Machito (born Francisco Raúl Gutiérrez Grillo, February 16, 1908? – April 19, 1984) was an influential Latin jazz musician who helped to refine Afro-Cuban jazz and to create both Cubop and salsa music. He was raised in Havana alongside the singer Graciela, his foster sister.
In New York City, Machito formed the band Machito & His Afro-Cubans in 1940, and with Mario Bauzá as musical director, brought together Cuban rhythms and big band arrangements in one group. He made numerous recordings from the 1940s to the 1980s, many with Graciela as singer. Machito changed to a smaller ensemble format in 1975, touring Europe extensively. He brought his son and daughter into the band, and received a Grammy Award in 1983, one year before he died.
Machito’s music had an effect on the lives of many musicians who played in the Afro-Cubans over the years, and on those who were attracted to Latin jazz after hearing him. George Shearing, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Stan Kenton credited Machito as an influence. An intersection in East Harlem is named “Machito Square” in his honor.

Machito gave conflicting accounts of his birth. He sometimes said he was a native Cuban from Havana. Other accounts place his birth in Tampa, Florida, making him an American of Cuban ancestry. The birth date is always given as February 16 but the year varies. He may have been born in 1908 in the Jesús María district of Havana or in Tampa, in 1909 in the Marianao Beach district of Havana or in Tampa, in 1912 in Tampa or Havana, or even in 1915 in Havana.

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