Xavier Cugat and his Gigolos (1929)

tango band

(from Wikipedia):

Cugat was born Francisco de Asís Javier Cugat Mingall de Bru y Deulofeu in Girona, Catalonia, Spain.
His family immigrated to Cuba when he was five years old.
He studied classical violin and worked as a violinist at the age of nine in a silent movie theater to help pay for his education.
He was first chair violinist for the Teatro Nacional Symphonic Orchestra. When he wasn't performing, he started drawing caricatures.

On 6 July 1915 he and his family arrived in New York City on the SS Havana.
Cugat appeared in recitals with Enrico Caruso, playing violin solos.
In the 1920s, he led a band that played often at the Cocoanut Grove, a club in Los Angeles.
Cugat's friend, Charlie Chaplin, visited the club to dance the tango, so Cugat added tangos to the band's performances.
Seeing how popular the dance was becoming, Cugat convinced the owner to hire South American dancers to give tango lessons.
This, too, became popular, and Cugat made the dancers part of his orchestra.
In 1928 he turned his act into the film Xavier Cugat and His Gigolos.

In 1931 Cugat took his band to New York for the 1931 opening of the Waldorf–Astoria Hotel.
He replaced Jack Denny as leader of the hotel's resident band. For sixteen years, he led the Waldorf–Astoria Orchestra,
shuttling between New York and Los Angeles for most of the next 30 years.
One of his trademark gestures was to hold a chihuahua while he waved his baton with the other arm.

His music career led to appearing in the films In Gay Madrid (1930), You Were Never Lovelier (1942), Week-End at the Waldorf (1945),
Bathing Beauty (1944), Holiday in Mexico (1946), A Date with Judy (1948), On an Island with You (1948), and Chicago Syndicate (1955).

Cugat spent his last years in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, living in a suite at Hotel Ritz. He died of heart failure at age 90 in Barcelona and was burie
in his native Girona. He was posthumously inducted into the International Latin Music Hall of Fame in 2001.


A Night In Spain
44th St. Theatre / NYC / May 3, 1927

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