Orquesta José Curbelo

José Curbelo (February 18, 1917, Havana - September 21, 2012, Miami) was a Cuban-born American pianist and manager. Curbelo was a key figure in Latin jazz in New York City in the 1940s and helped to popularize Mambo and the cha cha dance in the 1950s.

Both of Curbelo's parents were born in Cuba, but his father had studied classical violin in the United States before returning to play with the Havana Philharmonic. He studied under Pedro Menendez as a child and graduated from the Molinas Conservatory at age 15. In the 1930s he played with Cuban orchestras and formed the Orquesta Havana Riverside before moving to New York in 1939. There he played in the ensembles of Xavier Cugat, Juancito Sanabria, and José Morand early in the 1940s, and in 1942 founded his own ensemble. Among the musicians who played in Curbelo's band were Candido, Tito Puente, and Tito Rodriguez; the group split time between New York and Miami, and played in some of both cities' top nightclubs and ballrooms.

Starting in 1953, Curbelo worked with a sextet which included Al Cohn and Jack Hitchcock; this group was arranged by Cohn himself and Puente as well as Rene Hernandez and Chico O'Farrill. Curbelo's band recorded several albums in the cha-cha style for Morand's Fiesta Records in the 1950s. Curbelo wrote unforgettable songs in this period ("La La la", "La familia", "La Runidera" (1946), "Sun Sun babae" (1952), "Mambo y cha cha cha"); these songs have since been sung by Ray Barreto and Oscar de Leon. Curbelo disbanded the group in 1959 and took up managing, founding an agency for Latin musicians called Alpha Artists. Throughout the 1960s, Curbelo managed most of the major Latin bands in New York and was successful in negotiating favorably with promoters on behalf of his artists.

Curbelo invested in real estate later in life and moved to Miami in the 1980s, where he continued booking artists for festivals. He died in 2012 after spending the last few months of his life at a hospice in Aventura, Florida.

Birth and Death Data: Born February 18, 1917 (Havana), Died September 21, 2012 (Miami Beach)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1947

Roles Represented in DAHR: Musical group

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor D7FB-0116 10-in. 1/29/1947 Managua Nicaragua José Curbelo Orchestra ; Bobby Ramos Male vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor D7FB-0117 10-in. 1/29/1947 Rumba bomba José Curbelo Orchestra ; Bobby Ramos Male vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor D7FB-0118 10-in. 1/29/1947 The breeze and I José Curbelo Orchestra Instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor D7FB-0119 10-in. 1/29/1947 Maracas José Curbelo Orchestra ; Bobby Ramos Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor D7XB-0282 10-in. 4/23/1947 Mary Ann José Curbelo Orchestra Male vocal solo, with instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor D7XB-0283 10-in. 4/23/1947 Boogie-woogie na favela José Curbelo Orchestra Instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor D7XB-0284 10-in. 4/23/1947 Ed Sullivan samba José Curbelo Orchestra Instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor D7XB-0285 10-in. 4/23/1947 ¿Cuándo aprenderás? José Curbelo Orchestra Instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor D7FB-0948 10-in. 6/10/1947 Clarinet samba José Curbelo Orchestra Instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor D7FB-0949 10-in. 6/10/1947 Te amo Chito Izar ; José Curbelo Orchestra Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor D7FB-0950 10-in. 6/10/1947 Rumba mejoral José Curbelo Orchestra ; Tito Rodríguez Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor D7FB-0951 10-in. 6/10/1947 Take me, take me José Curbelo Orchestra Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor D7XB-1775 10-in. 10/21/1947 La comparsa José Curbelo Orchestra Instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor D7XB-1776 10-in. 10/21/1947 Baby shoot me a kiss José Curbelo Orchestra ; Manyo Lopez Instrumental ensemble, with male solo Musical group  
Victor D7XB-1777 10-in. 10/21/1947 Peanut vendor José Curbelo Orchestra ; Manyo Lopez Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor D7XB-1778 10-in. 10/21/1947 Jinguili jongolo José Curbelo Orchestra ; Manyo Lopez Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor D7XB-2521 10-in. 11/26/1947 Rumba rumbera José Curbelo Orchestra ; Tito Rodríguez Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor D7XB-2522 10-in. 11/26/1947 Poinciana José Curbelo Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with male vocal solo Musical group  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Orquesta José Curbelo," accessed July 21, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110900.

Orquesta José Curbelo. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved July 21, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110900.

"Orquesta José Curbelo." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 21 July 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/110900

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