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Mario Bauzá Interview, Tape 1



Date Created


Ruth Glasser interview with Afro-Cuban jazz musician Mario Bauzá. Throughout the interview, Mario talks about his life experiences, music and general musings. He discusses being raised by his affluent godmother and godfather in Cuba. Growing up, Mario attended a symphonic music conservatory where he distinguished himself at a young age as a gifted clarinet and saxophone player. He discusses Cuba’s troubled racial history and expresses pride in his Afro-Caribbean roots. Frustrations with racial discrimination in Cuba motivated him to dream of travelling to the USA. He manages to immigrate to New York City and reminisces of his life in Harlem during the 1930s, describing it as a place of luxury and elegance. Mario discusses becoming the director of La Orquesta de Machito and his emergence as a pioneer of Afro-Cuban jazz. He also discusses how his group became a trailblazer, tearing down racial boundaries in clubs in New York City, Miami and Puerto Rico. His love for New York City and its people is evident throughout the interview.

Mario Bauzá (4/28/1911 - 7/11/1993) an Afro-Cuban jazz musician who had a career spanning seven decades. Introducing his unique Cuban musical style to the New York City jazz scene , Mr. Bauzá was one of the first musicians to introduce Latin music to the United States. In 1933, Mr. Bauzá was hired as lead trumpeter and musical director for Chick Webb’s Orchestra. During his time with Webb, Mr. Bauzá met fellow trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and discovered singer Ella Fitzgerald who he brought into the band. Mr. Bauzá continued to work with Mr. Gillespie for several years. The fusion of Mr. Bauzá's Cuban musical heritage and Mr. Gillespie's bebop culminated in the development of “Cubop” one of the first forms of Latin Jazz. As the musical director of Machito and His Afro-Cubans, Mr. Bauzá and the band had a major hit with "Tangá. Music critics believe this was first true Afro-Cuban jazz song or Latin Jazz tune. Mr. Bauzá was the first to explore jazz arranging techniques with authentic Afro-Cuban rhythms on a consistent basis giving it a unique identifiable sound that no other band in the genre of Afro-Cuban-based dance music had at the time.

Language: Spanish




00:46:45 [Side A]
00:46:25 [Side B]




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Digital Format

Preservation file: 24-bit/96 kHZ uncompressed WAV file
Access file: MP3

Physical Format


1 tape dated 4/19/89. Side A & B interview. Side A seems to start mid-interview.