Michael Buckner | Frazer Harrison, Getty Images Now this is a collaboration that…
- Posted on Apr 8th 2010 12:15PM by Emily Tan
Known as the "First Lady of Latin Jazz," Perez-Grillo is best known for songs like 'This Is Graciela' and 'That's the Way I Am,' and paved the way for Hispanic pop stars like Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and Celia Cruz. "[Perez-Grillo] was where it all started," Bobby Sanabria, who played on three of Perez-Grillo's records, told the NY Daily News. "Without her, there is no Celia Cruz or La Lupe or any of the stars today."
The Havana-born Perez-Grillo started her career playing bass and singing with the all-female Orquestra Anacaona. In 1942, she sang with the Afro-Cuban orchestra, which was led by her stepbrother Machito, in New York, making her the first woman to ever lead a tropical band of that renown. Over the course of her career, Perez-Grillo received numerous Grammy nods.
Cuban percussionist Candido Camero told El Nuevo Herald that Perez-Grillo is irreplaceable. "I don't believe that anyone could take the place of the Queen of Afro-Cuban Jazz, my friend, my sister Graciela Perez," he said.