The Barbican is to host the UK premiere of one of the greatest Latin bands of all time, the Big 3 Palladium Orchestra, embodying the spirit of the original Mambo Kings and performing the music of the three legendary bandleaders and composers – Machito, Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente – who set light to the dance floor of New York’s Palladium Ballroom throughout the 1950s.
To coincide with a major BBC Four television series exploring the story of Latin Music in the USA, the Barbican presents this historic band – containing members who played in the original Palladium Ballroom – and fronted by Machito Jr (son of the original bandleader, Machito, aka Frank Grillo) and Tito Rodriguez Jr (son of the legendary singer).
Joining this scorching ensemble will be guest soloists including the Fania pianist and producer Larry Harlow and trombonist Jimmy Bosch, in addition to Latin stars yet to be announced.
The Palladium Ballroom at 53rd Street and Broadway was the crucible of the new styles of Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, Rumba and Latin Jazz from the late 1940s until it closed in 1966. Machito’s band was the original headliner, soon joined by Tito Puente’s group and then the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra. It was from this scene that many of the Salsa stars emerged, later to conquer the Latin world on the Fania label. The Palladium quickly acquired legendary status for its high-energy music, its superb dancing and the huge (and multi-racial) audiences it attracted.
The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra is the brainchild of Machito Jr, who approached the Puente and Rodriguez families to recreate the music of this golden era, and the band has quickly become recognised as probably the finest Latin jazz ensemble in the USA.
Much of the music is based on historic charts by the three original bandleaders, and the Barbican concert will explore a repertoire from the beginnings of Mambo right through to the explosive and enduring sound created in the hot house of the Fania label – a sound which has been one of the defining styles of Salsa. Book soon as tickets are sure to sell out fast for this one-off performance.
Latin Music USA: The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra featuring Machito Jr, Tito Rodriguez Jr, with special guests. Sunday 24 January 7.30pm. Concert at the Barbican Hall, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS. Box Office: 0845 120 7550 or www.barbican.org.uk. Produced by the Barbican in association with BBC Four.
Latin Music USA is broadcast on BBC Four at 9.00pm over four weeks, on Fridays 29th January, 5th, 12th and 19th February 2010. The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra concert will be filmed and broadcast on January 29th after the first part of Latin Music USA.