Lecuona Cuban Boys

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The Lecuona Cuban Boys was a popular Cuban orchestra which toured the world for over forty years. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_0

The band was founded by Ernesto Lecuona, whose role was that of a patron-entrepreneur. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_1

He did not actually play with the band, but sometimes gave a piano recital before the band played. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_2

The core of the band was put together in 1931 as Orquesta Encanto; the band changed name early in 1934. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_3

On tour in Europe, in 1934, Lecuona returned to Cuba, and Armando Oréfiche took charge of the band in Europe. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_4

Ernesto gave them the gift of his name, which, at the time, was a property well worth having, and the right to use a number of his compositions. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_5

The LCB was exceptionally strong in arrangements, compositions and instrumental quality (most of them could play two or three instruments). Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_6

Their only weak spot was the lack of a really first-rate Cuban singer, but that was not so important as might seem because they played so often to non-Latin audiences. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_7

Some of their pick-up singers could sing in English, and many of their numbers were instrumentals. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_8

The band played the full range of Cuban popular music, but their speciality was the conga. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_9

Though it was perhaps Eliseo Grenet who first composed a conga in its ballroom dance style, it was certainly the LCB who took it round the world and made it famous. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_10

The LCB was therefore the first conjunto to use the conga drum regularly in its performances, and not Arsenio Rodríguez, as is often supposed. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_11

The band initially organized itself as a collective, but in practice Armando Oréfiche (composer, arranger, pianist) was the leader. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_12

Other band members were Ernesto 'Jaruco' Vázquez (trumpeter, guitarist, composer, arranger); Adalberto 'Chiquito' Oréfiche (tenor sax and bongo); Agustin Bruguera (timbales, conga, voice); Gerardo Bruguera (tenor sax and clarinet); Jesús Bertomeu (trombone); Jorge Domínguez (alto sax, clarinet, violin); Daniel González (alto sax, clarinet, violin); Guillermo Hernández (guitar, tumba, guiro, maracas); Enrique López Rivero (trumpet) 1932 34; Alberto Rabagliati (voice) engaged 1934; later Fernando Díaz and Luis Escalante were engaged as replacement trumpeters. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_13

In 1947 Bob (Irv) Mesher joined the group after a brief stint with Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez and Pupi Campo. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_14

Irv took over the lead chair when Jaruco Vazquez left the band... Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_15

The band toured throughout the world: the USA, Latin America and Europe were the main tours. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_16

When World War II broke out, the band went to Latin America and continued their touring there. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_17

After World War II there was a dispute within the band, which ended in a split. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_18

Armando Oréfiche left with a few members, and started the Havana Cuban Boys; the rest stayed under the old name, based in New York until 1960. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_19

The Lecuona Cuban Boys continued to tour, and finally retired in 1975. Lecuona Cuban Boys_sentence_20


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lecuona Cuban Boys.