Malo was a seriously good Latin brass rock outfit put together in San Francisco by vocalist Arcelio Garcia and guitarist Jorge Santana, brother of Carlos, in 1971, the idea being to create a super-group of all the Latin Rock musicians in the Bay Area. The band featured trumpet players Luis Gasca and Roy Murray, keyboard player Richard Kermode, bassist Pablo Tellez, drummer Richard Spremich and Abel Zarate joining Santana on guitar. Coke Escovedo, Victor Pantoja and Richard Bean were the featuredg uest percussionists in this band that became the most important group after Santana. They released "Malo", their debut album, in 1972 and this was the album that featured the hit "Suavecito", which did quite well on the charts. The second album, "Dos", released the following year, featured percussionists Francisco Aquabella and Leo Rosales and the addition of sax player Hadley Caliman. Forrest Buchtel featured on trumpet, as did a number of guest percussionists and horn players. This, our featured album, was arguably their best, and it featured Tony Smith on drums and Ron Smith on trumpet, in addition to new keyboard player Ron DeMasi and new trombone player Steve Sherard. The band were sounding incredibly tight and were getting better with each album. A major change in the vocal department occurred when Willie G( ex-Thee Midniters) replaced Garcia. The resulting album, "Ascencion", was released in 1974. Malo effectively split after this album, with Jorge going on to record a number of solo albums. The Chicano Power, or Latin Rock era, was coming to an end, with many of the bands folding. Richard Bean formed the shortlived Sapo, a band with tremendous potential, but they only released one album before splitting. In 1981, Arcelio Garcia revived Malo, with himself as the only original member, and a fifth album, simply titled "V", was released on the Traq Record label. It's not know how well this album was received, but Malo became dormant for another six years, from a recording point of view, until 1987, when a sixth album, "Coast to Coast" was released, once again with Garcia the only original member. In 1991, the US GNP Record label released "The Best of Malo", their first CD release. The inside cover showed a picture of Malo "today", which gave rise to the hope that a new album would shortly be on the way. This indeed transpired: "Senorita" was released in 1995, with, yes, you guessed it, Arcelio Garcia once again fronting the band, together with Victor Pantoja, guest percussionist on the first album. Malo's popularity still ranked high with the punters, and this was well caputured on the double live "Latin Legends" album, released in 1997 and which featured Malo live in concert with fellow surviving Latin rockers Tierra and El Chicano, two other Latin bands Dinosaur Days listeners are well familiar with. A four track EP, "Vamanos A Bailar" was released in 1997, but since then no new material has been released. Malo are sounding better than ever now - let's hope that it's not another five or so years before we hear something new from this really exciting and imaginative band. It would also be nice if someone, somewhere released the bands' earlier material on CD someday!

Malo 
 Malo - Latin Woman, from "Ascencion" in 1974, their 4th album. This was the first (and only) album to feature new vocalist Willie G (no relation to Kenny, hopefully!), who replaced co-founder and original vocalist Arcelio Garcia. "Ascencion" saw Malo move in a slightly more commercially orientated direction with shorter, radio friendlier numbers, although they never lost any of the magic that made them such a popular Latin rock act in the US. This album, unfortunately, also signalled the end of Malo as we knew them, with Jorge Santana embarking on a solo career. Garcia revived the band in the early eighties with an entirely new line-up, however, and they released "Malo 5" in 1981, although it would be a further five years before the next album, '' Coast to Coast", was released, once again with an almost entirely different line-up. Information on this tremendously talented band and it's very charismatic leader and frontman Arcelia Garcia is not easy to come by, by it would appear that he's kept the band on the back burner for a number of years, although no new studio albums surfaced until 1995, when ''Senorita" was released, with yet another different line-up. Malo did, however, feature on the double Latin Legends live album in the mid nineties, together with the reformed El Chicano and Tierra. It's not clear if they're still a going concern - we certainly hope so - they've still got much to give.
  
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Biography by Ron Wynn
When Latin funk and Latin rock had its brief moment in the sun during the '70s, a number of groups emerged. Most were imitation Santanas, but at least Malo could boast that it had a real Santana in the lineup. Carlos Santana's brother Jorge headed Malo, and he possessed a little of his brother's vocal sound. Unfortunately, he didn't have enough to keep Malo going more than a few years. Their debut LP for Warner Bros. reached number 14 on the pop charts, but it was all downhill from there. The single "Suavecito" peaked at number 18 pop. They got very little attention from R&B or funk fans. 

 

Hadley Caliman
Luis Gasca
Jorge Santana
Francisco Aguabella
Richard Bean
Forrest Buchtel
Ron Demasi
Michael Fugate
Arcello Garcia
Mike Heathman
Richard Kermode
Ron Murray
Roy Murray
Victor Pantoja
Tom Poole
Raul Rekow
Leo Rosales
Steve Sherard
Ronald Smith
Tony Smith
Richard Spremich
Pablo Tellez
Abel Zarate

Black Sugar
Chango
Tierra
Mandrill
Harvey Averne
Sapo
El Chicano
Cymande
War
Santana
Osibisa
Redbone

If you have any contribution to make to this band or something to add, email me - Japie Marais.

 

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Malo - 1972 - Dos - 4/5

Malo - 1972 - Malo - 4.5/5

Malo - 1973 - Evolution - 3/5

Malo - 1974 - Ascecion - 2.5/5

Malo - 1995 - Senorita - 4/5

Malo - 2005 - En Vivo, Live - 4/5

Malo - 2006 - Malo Live - 4/5

Rating

 

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