September 30, 2021- Today's Topic: Mambo
Mambo is a Cuban musical style that comes from the danzon tradition and referred to as danzon-mambo. Traditional mambo makes heavy use of the guajeos used in son-Cubano.
Guajeos also known as a montuno is a syncopated ostinato that repeats throughout the song usually with a clave pattern.
Mambo first appeared in Cuba in the late 30s and became a popular dance style. Orestes Lopez and his brother Cachao made some key innovations that helped define the genre.
In 1949 Damaso Perez Prado brought the style to international prominence, first in Mexico then in New York. Prado expanded on the earlier concept by adding a bigger American jazz influence with an enlarged big band instrumentation.
The impact in New York was immediate and soon spread to the rest of the country.
American record companies lined up to cash in on the music’s popularity. It was a cultural phenomenon in popular music and Perez Prado was the undisputed King of the Mambo.
In New York The Palladium became the most well known ballroom for the Mambo and attracted the city’s best dancers. In addition to Prado, Tito Puente and Tito Rodriguez were major stars. Machito and Mario Bauza incorporated the style into their band as well. Popular music jumped on the band wagon and the word Mambo was used with many artists on many records.
Mambo uses a similar instrumental ensemble to other Afro-Cuban musical genres. A rhythm section may consist of percussion instruments like bongos, congas, timbales, cowbell, claves, guiro, and a drum set.
The Mambo remained the most popular latin dance style in the United States until it was replaced in the mid 50s by the Cha Cha Cha.