Cat Quintet: Besame Mucho – Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra

Besame Mucho - Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra

Besame Mucho – Xavier Cugat and His Orchestra

At the Katz Café; כץ קפה
Green Cat and Orange Tabby talking, Orange Tabby: “Everything is so depressing. I’m so depleted.”
Green Cat: “It’s just an endorphin problem…. Come on.”
All the Cats in the Café are dancing.


Xavier Cugat

Xavier Cugat

Xavier Cugat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wikipedia-logoXavier Cugat (Catalan pronunciation: [ʃəβiˈe kuˈɣat]) (1 January 1900 – 27 October 1990) was a Spanish-American bandleader who spent his formative years in Havana, Cuba. A trained violinist and arranger, he was a key personality in the spread of Latin music in United States popular music. He was also a cartoonist and a successful businessman. In New York, his was the resident orchestra at the Waldorf-Astoria before and after World War II.

Life and career
Cugat was born as Francisco d’Asís Xavier Cugat Mingall de Bru i Deulofeu in Girona, Catalonia (Spain).[1] His family emigrated to Cuba when Xavier was five. He was trained as a classical violinist and played with the Orchestra of the Teatro Nacional in Havana. On 6 July 1915, Cugat and his family arrived in New York as immigrant passengers on board the S.S. Havana.

Radio and films
In the late 1920s, as sound began to be used in films, he put together another tango band that had some success in early short musical films. By the early 1930s, he began appearing with his group in feature films. He took his band to New York for the 1931 opening of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and he eventually replaced Jack Denny as the leader of the hotel’s resident band. One of his trademarks was to hold a Chihuahua while he waved his baton with the other arm.
For 16 years Cugat helmed the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel’s orchestra. He shuttled between New York and Los Angeles for most of the next 30 years, alternating hotel and radio dates with movie appearances in You Were Never Lovelier (1942), Bathing Beauty (1944), Week-End at the Waldorf (1945), On an Island with You (1948), and Neptune’s Daughter (1949), among others.[citation needed]

Cugat recorded on Columbia Records (1940’s and 1950s, also Columbia’s Epic label), RCA Victor (1930’s and 1950s), Mercury Records (1951–1952 and 1960s) and Decca Records (1960’s). Dinah Shore made her first recordings as a vocalist with Cugat in 1939 and 1940 (Victor Records). In 1940, his recording of “Perfidia” became a big hit. Cugat followed trends closely, making records for the conga, the mambo, the cha-cha-cha, and the twist when each was in fashion. Several of the songs he recorded, including “Perfidia”, were used in the Wong Kar-wai films Days of Being Wild and 2046. In 1943, “Brazil” was a big hit, reaching #17 in the Billboard Top 100.
Cugat did not lose sleep over artistic compromises:
“I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve.”

Partial discography
The Greatest RCA Sides (RCA Victor, ca. 1940s, 1950s; 2000 compilation)
Bread, Love and Cha Cha Cha (Columbia, ca. 1957)
Cugi’s Cocktails (Mercury, 1963)
Xavier Cugat & his orchestra — Personnel: Robert Jones, George Lopez, Richard Hoffman, Frank Berardi (tp), Joseph Gutierrez (tb), Henry Greher (frh), Gene Lorello, Luis Castellanos, John Haluko, Robert De Joseph, James English (sax), Rafael Angelo (p), Manuel Paxtot (b), Isabello Marerro (dm), Oswaldo Oliveira (timb), Otto Garcia (maracas), Otto Bolivar (bgo), Glenn E. Brown (marimba) (Glenn Brown is the father of Steve Brown) – New-York, June 20, 1951 – CO 45849 / Columbia CL 6213 2’50 he used a wooden guiro at times
Death: Cugat died of heart failure, aged 90, in Barcelona and was buried in his native Girona.

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