Mario Bauzá at Clark Park, Detroit 1990

Mario Bauza, dancing. The singer and the reed section are in the background.

The dancers are up front. The singer and the reed section are in the background.

 

Mario Bauza, dancing in Detroit, 1990.

Dancers in Detroit, Clark Park in Detroit,  1990.

I think that it was in September or October of 1990 that I got to see Mario Bauzá’s Afro-Cuban Orchestra.  They played a free concert at Detroit’s Clark Park.

It’s possible that they played Detroit’s large jazz festival downtown and then added this as a second concert.  If so, this would be September 1990.

From my photos, I can see a pianist, a singer, a bassist and a five- to six-piece horn and reed section.  I’m sure that there were also a few drummers and percussionists.  This would make it (at least) a ten- to twelve-member band.  Is that his sister-in-law Graciela singing?  I think that she was still with him in 1990.

From Ozzie Rivera: “Graciela did not perform at Clark Park though she did at the following year’s jazz festival.”  See more important information in his comment, below.

I believe that Mr. Bauzá was no longer playing in instrument.  He wrote the arrangements and conducted the band.

Does anyone else have any memories of this show??

Dancers and some of the band.

Dancers and some of the band.

Mario Bauzá  is a legendary figure in the history of jazz.  In the 1930’s he performed with Chick Webb, Don Redman, Fletcher Henderson and Cab Calloway.  Bauzá helped get Dizzy Gillespie into the Cab Calloway orchestra and educated him about the Cuban side of jazz.  He got Gillespie together with Chano Pozo.  From there, Bauzá went on to work with the Machito Orchestra.

Bauzá at the mike, with the singer, bassist and rhythm section.

Bauzá is to the right, with his back turned.  The emcee is at the mike, with the singer, bassist and rhythm section.

Bauzá isn’t as well known as he should be.  I was excited to see this show.  I remember that it was wonderful and truly memorable.  These photos are a bit grainy.  Yet I think that they successfully convey some of spirit of the day, silent as they are.

Bauza and the band.

Bauza and the band.

In the image below, Mario Bauzá is at the right, in the middle of a group of three men. He’s wearing a light gray jacket.

The horn section and some of the audience.

The horn section and some of the audience.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mario_Bauz%C3%A1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graciela

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machito

An out-take, a bit blurry.

An out-take, a bit blurry.

 

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4 Responses to “Mario Bauzá at Clark Park, Detroit 1990”

  1. Ozzie Rivera Says:

    This is the year before Mario Bauza played at the Jazz Festival. Sorry I would have to dig into my files for the exact year. Palante Productions along with Casa de Unidad brought the band in for the Annual Unidad En La Comunidad (Unity In the Community) Festival held at Clark Park. In fact it was this performance which led the Jazz Festival to book him for Hart Plaza the following year. As noted Bauza has not been given the credit due for his role in the development of both Jazz and Salsa (Latin dance) along with his brother in law Machito. Graciela did not perform at Clark Park though she did at the following year’s jazz festival. In somewhat of a telling moment she sang to one of the Afro Cuban/Latin dieties (orishas) and the skies opened to rain. It left me speechless. I don’t believe most people knew what happened.

    Both of the Bauza performances followed the first national memorial concert to Machito, Mario’s brother in law and founder of the Afro Cubans formed in the early 40’s. That memorial concert was held April 1988, at the current Orchestra Hall.

    Ozzie Rivera

  2. Ozzie Rivera Says:

    PS just double checked the pictures and realized the individual noted as Mario Bauza is not him but rather his singer. Can’t recollect his name at the moment.

  3. Ozzie Rivera Says:

    Mario Bauza is the man seen a couple of times in the photos wearing a light gray suit

  4. artremedy20 Says:

    Thanks a lot Ozzie, I’ll make corrections, That’s great information. Thanks for all your work over the years. Thank you also to Francisco Mora Catlett and R.J. Spangler.

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