Havana born Latin music legends Candido Camero and Graciela are two of the last survivors of the Cubop movement of the late "40s which fused Cuban rhythms with big-band Jazz. These masters of the art bring a unique style and easy camaraderie to this new recording highlighted by Graciela's call-and-response interplay with the band and Candido's subtle wizardry on the conga drums. What you have is inolvidable unforgettable.
On this record we sought to capture the essence and liveliness of a number of traditional Cuban songs from a timeless era by using two living legends and combining them with an all-star Latin Jazz band. Candido contacted Graciela the First Lady of Afro-Cuban Jazz with the intent of luring her out of semi-retirement. The highly sought out vocalist jumped at the opportunity to record with Candido whom she has known for nearly 60 years. At this point the wheels were in motion and the canvas was set for one of the most invigorating recording sessions to date.
It was after emigrating to the United States in 1946 at age 25 that Candido's fame would spread with his introduction of a new drumming technique. Candido who had accompanied the rumba dance team Carmen and Rolando to the U.S. is credited as being the first conguero to keep the beat with one hand and improvise with the other - while playing two congas at the same time another first. With Dizzy Gillespie in the midst of pioneering the fusion of Cuban rhythms and big-band jazz that came to be known as Cubop performing and recording with some of the biggest names in jazz including Gillespie Charlie Parker and pianist Billy Taylor. It was while making his first Latin recording as a featured player in Frank "Machito" Grillo's orchestra the Afro-Cubans that Candido first met fellow Havana native Graciela the band's lead singer and Machito's kid sister.
The Havana-born Graciela whose last name is Perez began her professional career with the all-girl group El Septeto Anacaona in the early 1930's. Displaying a strong and sultry singing voice Graciela stayed with the band for ten years. Though she performed mostly in Cuba she got to tour New York and Paris. Her older brother Machito meanwhile was establishing himself as one of New York City's more popular nightclub attractions. As leader of Machito and his Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra he was a pioneering influence in the fledgeling Cubop movement. But after Machito was drafted into the U.S. army in 1943 Graciela was summoned to New York by Bauza the band's musical director to fill in as the Afro-Cuban Orchestra's lead singer until Machito came back. Graciela only stayed on for 30 years becoming a top attraction in her own right. Graciela enjoyed one of her biggest hits in the early 1950s with "Si Si No No." The song was a rearrangement of an old tune called "Mi Cerebro" but Graciela spiced it up by performing it with sexually suggestive lyrics and she was thereafter known as the "Si Si No No Girl." The playful moniker complemented her other unofficial title as the First Lady of Afro-Cuban Jazz.
Though it had been some time since Candido and Graciela had originally collaborated together these two living legends were once again able to document history with a sense of revitalization and with Chesky Records' signature 96kHZ/ 24-bit recording technology you can enjoy this recording with a level of clarity comparable to that of a live performance.
On Inolvidable Candido and Graciela are joined by an all-star Latin Jazz band that features Xiomara Laugart as a special guest singer in addition to Sonny Bravo on piano Frederico Britos Ruiz on violin Andy Gonzalez on bass Eddie Perales on flute Nelson Gonzalez on tres Manny Oquendo on percussion and back-up singers Joseph Gonzalez and Jorge Maldonado.
Chesky Records the Grammy Award-winning Jazz Pop World and Classical audiophile label is distributed nationally by Telarc. Inolvidable will be available domestically on May 25 2004.