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La Herencia

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Album Review

Machito, one of the seminal Latin bandleaders of the '40s (and the most exciting), still hasn't gotten his due in the digital age, with mostly scattershot compilations to display his genius for hard-hitting mambos. La Herencia, a Fania label compilation, is a solid set, although it's not the one a newcomer would want to pick up. Its 15 tracks are all good to great, but all of them were recorded for the Tico label during the late '50s and early '60s, when his influence had already crested. Nonetheless, there's virtually no difference between these tracks and those recorded 20 years earlier, with torrid playing and charts from Machito's orchestra, arranger Mario Bauzá, and frequent vocalist Graciela (who was Machito's sister).


Born: 16 February 1912 in Tampa, FL

Genre: Latino

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Machito played a huge role in the history of Latin jazz, for his bands of the 1940s were probably the first to achieve a fusion of powerful Afro-Cuban rhythms and jazz improvisation. At its roaring best, the band had a hard-charging sound, loaded with jostling, hyperactive bongos and congas and razor-edged riffing brass. Machito was the front man, singing, conducting, shaking maracas, while his brother-in-law Mario Bauza was the innovator behind the scenes, getting Machito to hire jazz-oriented arrangers....
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La Herencia, Machito
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