In a career that spanned half a century, Cuban bandleader Frank "Machito" Grillo embodied Latin Jazz and influenced several generations of musicians, contributing to a cultural explosion on the international music scene.
MACHITO weaves together vintage film clips and recordings, Hollywood production numbers, and one-of-a-kind street performances from 1920s Cuba to contemporary New York. Sensational shows at such hot spots as the Cotton Club highlight the golden era of Latin Jazz in the 40s and 50s.
Musicians Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, and Ray Barreto share fond memories of the scene while paying tribute to Machito. Warm and "simpatico," Machito laughs, reminisces, and plays some of the hottest Latin Jazz on film anywhere.
"Hugely informative, with astonishing archival footage."—John Pareles, New York Times
1989 Festival Latino, New York
First Prize Winner, 1988 San Juan Film Festival
1987 American Film & Video Festival
Jury Prize Winner, 1986 San Antonio Film Festival
"Documentaries, at their best, can bring you near to the past, to people and events you might never have known. That's what Ortiz has done here: brought us close to a wonderful man and a marvelous life and music we might otherwise have missed... This is a movie that can make you cry and laugh as well as dance."—Michael Wilmington, Los Angeles Times
"Excellent archive visuals of a myriad of bands, in Cuba and in New York."—Landers Film & Video Reviews
"**** [4 Stars - Highly Recommended] The appeal of this program lies in the way it intertwines interviews, performances, archival film footage, and 'atmospheric' shots of neon lights and crowded dance floors, emphasizing the full impact of Machito's career within the context of his time, as well as his legacy to the music of today. Libraries with large Latin-American communities or with an extensive music collection should consider purchasing this video. I could be used effectively in programming concerning Latin Americans, music, the contribution of immigrants, or even a larger program highlighting the 1940s."—Mary M. Morris, Video Rating Guide for Libraries
"A warm, exciting tribute, this film will move you right off your seat."—Pele deLappe, People's Daily World