Thursday, 27 January 2022

Smokey Hogg born 27 January 1914

Andrew "Smokey" Hogg (January 27, 1914 – May 1, 1960) was an American post-war Texas blues and country blues musician navigating a post-war era infatuated by R&B, but he got along quite nicely nonetheless, scoring a pair of major R&B hits in 1948 and 1950 and cutting a thick catalogue for a slew of labels. 

Hogg was born near Westconnie, Texas, and grew up on a farm. He was taught to play the guitar by his father, Frank Hogg. In 1927 he fell in love with his “little schoolgirl”, 15 year old Bertha Blanton. They married in 1932.  A son was born in 1933, but they split up the following year.  While still in his teens he teamed up with the slide guitarist and vocalist B. K. Turner, also known as Black Ace, and the pair travelled together, playing a circuit of turpentine and logging camps, country dance halls and juke joints around Kilgore, Tyler, Greenville and Palestine, in East Texas.

In 1937, Decca Records brought Hogg and Black Ace to Chicago to record. Hogg's first record, "Family Trouble Blues" backed with "Kind Hearted Blues", was released under the name of Andrew Hogg. It was an isolated occurrence — he did not make it back into a recording studio for over a decade. By the early 1940s, Hogg was married and making a good living busking around the Deep Ellum area of Dallas, Texas. While in Dallas he met his second wife, Doris Louise McMillan, who gave birth to his second son and last child in 1944. 

Hogg was drafted in the mid-1940s. After a brief spell with the U.S. military, he continued working in the Dallas area, where he was becoming well known. In 1947 he came to the attention of Herbert T. Rippa Sr., the head of the Dallas-based record label Bluebonnet Records, who recorded several sides with him and leased the masters to Modern Records. 


The first release on Modern was the Big Bill Broonzy song "Too Many Drivers". It sold well enough that Modern brought Hogg to Los Angeles to cut more sides with their team of studio musicians. These songs included his two biggest hits, "Long Tall Mama" in 1949 and another Broonzy tune, "Little School Girl." 

In January 1950, "Little School Girl" reached number 5 on the Billboard Retail R&B chart and number 9 on the Most Played Juke Box R&B chart. His two-part "Penitentiary Blues" (1952) was a remake of the prison song "Ain't No More Cane on the Brazos". Hogg recorded a good many songs by blues singers who were popular in his and their day. 

Big Bill Broonzy and Peetie Wheatstraw and Black Ace were clearly the artists he most admired, but most of his recordings were his own compositions, with lyrics that often appear to be created spontaneously. Hogg’s playing tended to be rhythmically inconsistent; author and critic Peter Guralnick observed that “there is never any beat as such to Smokey Hogg’s music, though a pulse can sometimes be detected”. His music was popular with record buyers in the South during the late 1940s and early 1950s. 

Between 1947 and 1957 Hogg recorded prolifically for a host of labels, mostly West Coast, such as Combo, Ebb, Exclusive, Fidelity, Imperial, Jade, Meteor, Ray’s, Recorded in Hollywood, Show Time and Specialty, but also Bullet in Nashville and Macy’s, Mercury and Sittin’ In With in Houston. The company which recorded him most heavily was Los Angeles-based Modern Records, which meant that he had to spend long periods on the West Coast, leaving his wife and son in Dallas. The stresses of this way of life probably contributed to the failure of his second marriage around 1951. 

By his own account, Hogg had a girlfriend in all the major cities that he frequented, but nevertheless considered himself unlucky in love, no doubt because of the failure of his two marriages. He became an alcoholic but continued to work the party and juke joint circuit in Texas and the west coast of California until he died in McKinney, Texas of a haemorrhaging ulcer, on 1 May 1960, at the age of 46. 

Hogg was reputed to be a cousin of Lightnin' Hopkins and to be distantly related to Alger "Texas" Alexander, but both claims are ambiguous. However he did have a cousin named John Hogg who was also a blues musician; he recorded for Mercury Records in 1951.Smokey Hogg should is not to be confused with Willie "Smokey" Hogg, a musician based in New York City in the 1960s. 

(Edited from Wikipedia, Ace Records, AllMusic & The Blues Trail) 

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Norma Tanega born 26 January 1939

Norma Cecilia Tanega (January 30, 1939 – December 29, 2019) was an American folk and pop singer-songwriter, painter, and experimental musician. In the 1960s, she had a hit with the single "Walkin' My Cat Named Dog" and wrote songs for Dusty Springfield and other prominent musicians. In later decades, Tanega worked mostly as a percussionist, playing various styles of music in the bands Baboonz, hybridVigor, and Ceramic Ensemble. 

Tanega was born in Vallejo, California in 1939, to a Panamanian mother and a Filipino father who was a bandmaster for the United States Navy and eventually led his own band after 30 years of service. After moving to Long Beach at age two, she started classical piano lessons at age nine. She was equally passionate about visual art, and directed her high school's art gallery during her senior year. She attended Scripps College on a full scholarship and earned her MFA from Claremont Graduate School in 1962. 

With her studies completed, Tanega traveled Europe and then moved to New York City. Living in Greenwich Village, she became a part of the thriving folk music scene. Along with working at a mental hospital, where she'd perform songs for the patients, Tanega also worked summers as a music counsellor at a camp in the Catskill Mountains. Producer Herb Bernstein saw her perform there and introduced her to producer and songwriter Bob Crewe, most famous for his work with the Four Seasons. Tanega signed to Crewe's New Voice label in 1965 and released her debut single, "Walkin' My Cat Named Dog," in 1966. Inspired by her real-life pet (which she owned because her apartment building didn't allow dogs), the song mixed folk-rock with New York pop-soul production. It became an international hit, reaching number three in Canada and peaking at number 22 on the U.S. and U.K. charts. The song's popularity spawned covers by Barry McGuire, Art Blakey, and the Jazz Crusaders, as well as versions in Danish, Dutch, and French. 


To promote "Walkin" and her full-length album -- also called Walkin' My Cat Named Dog -- Tanega appeared on American Bandstand and Where the Action Is and was the sole female performer on a North American tour that included Gene Pitney, Chad & Jeremy, and Bobby Goldsboro on the line-up. Later in 1966, she toured England and performed on the TV show Ready, Steady, Go!, where she met Dusty Springfield. 

The pair hit it off, and Tanega moved to London to be with Springfield. Along with painting, Tanega spent her time writing songs, many of which Springfield recorded. These included "No Stranger Am I," which first appeared on Walkin' My Cat Named Dog, and "Come for a Dream," which Tanega co-wrote with Antônio Carlos Jobim. 

She worked with Blossom Dearie on a song that appeared on Dearie's 1970 album That's Just the Way I Want to Be, and also pursued her own music career. Working with the Viscounts' Don Paul and producer/keyboardist Mike Moran, she recorded her second album, 1971's I Don't Think It Will Hurt If You Smile, a set of songs inspired by her relationship with Springfield that added touches of psych-rock to her sound. However, the album didn't repeat Tanega's earlier chart success, and by 1972, her relationship with Springfield was over, although they remained friends until Dusty’s death in 1999. 

Tanega returned to Claremont, Califiornia and took jobs teaching both music and English as a second language. She returned to painting and exhibiting her artwork. Musically she switched from playing guitar to percussion and her style evolved from folk-rock singer-songwriting to more instrumental and experimental music. In the 1980s she was a member of Scripps ceramics professor Brian Ransom's Ceramic Ensemble, a group that played Ransom's handmade earthenware instruments. Over the years Ceramic Ensemble played at universities, folk festivals, and art museums. 

In the 1990s Tanega founded the group hybridVigor, starting as a duo with Mike Henderson for their first album, then expanding to a trio with the addition of Rebecca Jamm for their second album. In 1998 Tanega formed the Latin Lizards with Robert Grajeda, and the duo released the album Dangerous in 2003. Her next band was called Baboonz with guitarist Tom Skelly and bassist Mario Verlangieri. The trio released a self-titled CD in 2008, the album HA! In 2009, and a third called 8 Songs Ate Brains in 2010. Other recording projects soon followed, including the album Push with John Zeretzke, Twin Journey with Steve Rushingwind Ruiz, and a return collaboration with Ceramic Ensemble sound sculptor Brian Ransom for their album Internal Medicine. 

In 2014, her profile got another boost with the use of her song "You're Dead" in the vampire mockumentary film What We Do in the Shadows. The historic preservation center Claremont Heritage held an exhibition of her paintings in 2018. A year later, Tanega passed from colon cancer at age 80. 

(Edited from AllMusic & Wikipedia) 

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Benny Golson born 25 January 1929

Benny Golson (born January 25, 1929) is an American bebop/hard bop jazz tenor saxophonist, composer, and arranger. He came to prominence with the big bands of Lionel Hampton and Dizzy Gillespie, more as a writer than a performer, before launching his solo career. 

Benjamin Golson grew up in Philadelphia where, as a teenager, he played with several other promising young musicians, including John Coltrane, Red Garland, Jimmy Heath, Percy Heath, Philly Joe Jones, and Red Rodney. 

After graduating from Howard University, which had a conservative music program that insisted on Golson playing clarinet, he left in 1951 to play in guitarist Tiny Grimes’ group. Next he joined Bull Moose Jackson’s R&B band where he became friends with his idol, Tadd Dameron, whom Golson came to consider the most important influence on his writing, was Jackson's pianist at the time. From 1953 Golson played with Dameron's band. 

It was while he was working with the Lionel Hampton band at the Apollo Theater in Harlem in 1956 that he learned that Clifford Brown, a noted and well-liked jazz trumpeter who had done a stint with him in Dameron's band, had died in a car accident. Golson was so moved by the event that he composed the threnody "I Remember Clifford", as a tribute to a fellow musician and friend. In addition, many of Golson's other compositions have become jazz standards. Songs such as "Stablemates", "Killer Joe", "Whisper Not", "Along Came Betty", and "Are You Real?", have been performed and recorded numerous times by many musicians. 


Golson also worked with the bands of Johnny Hodges, Earl Bostic and Dizzy Gillespie. From 1959 to 1962, Golson co-led the Jazztet with Art Farmer. Golson then immersed himself in studying composition and orchestrating and went to Hollywood in 1967 where he wrote commercials for products and companies from Borateem to Texaco, scored TV shows such as M*A*S*H, Mission Impossible, and The Partridge Family, and composed or arranged for musicians as diverse as Mama Cass and Itzhak Perlman. He also formulated and conducted arrangements to various recordings, such as Eric Is Here, a 1967 album by Eric Burdon, which features five of Golson's arrangements, conducted by Golson. 

As Golson was in demand as an arranger for film and television, he was less active as a performer, but during the mid-1970s, Golson returned to jazz playing and recording. In 1982, Golson re-organized the Jazztet with Art Farmer.Touring in Japan, Europe, and the United States, Golson impressed listeners with a sound that had harder edges as compared with his previous efforts. From the 1980s onward, Golson divided his time between the United States and Europe, and many of his recordings were first released on Japanese labels. 

Golson has been honoured with over a dozen doctorates, toured on behalf of the State Department, and has had his commissioned concerto for bass and chamber orchestra, “Two Faces,” performed at Lincoln Center. His compositions such as “Killer Joe,” “Stablemates,” and “Whisper Not” have become part of the jazz canon along with “I Remember Clifford” which was choreographed by Twyla Tharp and performed by her ballet company in 1995. He received a Guggenheim Grant in 1995, was given an American Jazz Masters Award by the NEA in 1996, and honoured at Lincoln Center in 2001 with a concert, “The Magic of Benny Golson.” 

Golson made a cameo appearance in the 2004 movie The Terminal, related to his appearance in "A Great Day in Harlem", a group photograph of prominent jazz musicians. Golson's song "Something in B Flat" (from the album Benny Golson's New York Scene) can be heard during the film and in a later scene, Golson's band performs "Killer Joe". 

In October 2007, Golson received the Mellon Living Legend Legacy Award, presented by the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation at a ceremony at the Kennedy Center. Additionally, during the same month, he won the University of Pittsburgh International Academy of Jazz Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award at the university's 37th Annual Jazz Concert in the Carnegie Music Hall. In November 2009, Golson was inducted into the International Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame, during a performance at the University of Pittsburgh's annual jazz seminar and concert. On March 14, 2021, at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, The Recording Academy selected Arkadia Records recording artist Benny Golson with its 2021 Special Merit Award, The Lifetime Achievement Award. 

He has recorded over 30 albums for many recording companies in the United States and Europe under his own name and innumerable ones with other major artists. A prodigious writer, Golson has written well over 300 compositions. A live performer who consistently knocks audiences off their feet, Benny Golson has given hundreds of performances in USA, Europe, South America, Far East and Japan for decades. 

(Edited from Wikipedia & allAbout Jazz)


Monday, 24 January 2022

Joe Albany born 24 January 1924

Joe Albany (January 24, 1924 – January 12, 1988) was considered something of a legend in modern jazz and one of the first important bebop pianists. As with many others, critics never acknowledged his talents in the beginning of his career.

Rumored to have been Charlie Parker's favorite pianist, Joe Albany was renowned in his time. After a lengthy seclusion from the scene, he resurfaced in the 70s just in time to leave some lasting recordings. 

Looking at pianist Joe Albany's life in hindsight, it is miraculous that he lived to almost reach 64. Serious problems with drugs and alcohol resulted in a series of harrowing incidents and his domestic life would never be described as tranquil (his second wife committed suicide while his third almost died from a drug overdose). Albany's life was so erratic that he only recorded once during 1947-1971. However, Joe Albany's real importance is as one of the early bop pianists. 

Born Joseph Albani, in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Albany played the accordion as a child, he switched to piano in high school and in 1942 joined Leo Watson's group. By 1943, he was working on the West Coast in Benny Carter's orchestra. In 1946 he at least once played with Parker and then 20-year-old Miles Davis. Albany's live recordings with Parker and some brilliant studio sides with Lester Young in 1946 (the latter later reissued on Blue Note) were the high points of his career. 


              Here's !Over The Rainbow" from above album.

There is not much information on him until his first recording as a co-leader doing a quartet set “The Right Combination,” recorded in 1957  with an unusual trio line-up with saxophonist Warne Marsh and Bob Whitlock on bass, omitting a drummer. Despite that, most of the 1950s and 1960s saw him battling a heroin addiction, or living in seclusion in Europe. 

Other than a short stint with Charles Mingus in the mid-'60s, it was not until 1972 that Albany started to have a comeback and played on more than ten albums. He recorded a set with violinist Joe Venuti and was a leader on albums for Revelation, Horo, Inner City, SeaBreeze, and Interplay. 

Albany’s solo sets included a date from Milan, Italy; “This Is For My Friends,” (’74) “Plays George Gershwin” and “Bruce Lane,” made in Paris.(’76) “The Albany Touch,” ('77) on Seabreeze, was recorded in California. There was a duo “Joe + Joe,” ('74) done in Rome with Joe Venuti. He went back to leading a trio that also included bassist Art Davis and drummer Roy Haynes, on “Bird Lives!” from a New York date in '79. “Portrait Of An Artist,” from '81 on Elektra finds Joe teamed with George Duvivier, Charlie Persip, and Al Gofa on guitar. This would be his last recording. 

Albany was the focus of a 1980 documentary titled, Joe Albany... A Jazz Life. His daughter Amy-Jo wrote a memoir about her father called Low Down: Junk, Jazz, and Other Fairy Tales from Childhood. The book was adapted for the screen and released in 2014 as the biopic Low Down. 

Joe was also the biological father to Benjamin David Goldberg, who was adopted by another family shortly after being born. Benjamin David was also a musician, who studied percussion at Juilliard, played for Broadway shows and was in the US Army Band. 

Albany died of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest in New York City, January 12, 1988, at the age of 63.

(Edited from Wikipedia, AllMusic & All About Jazz)

Sunday, 23 January 2022

Michel Warlop born 23 January 1911

Michel Maurice Armand Warlop (23 January 1911 – 6 March 1947) was a French classical and jazz violinist professionally active from 1929 to 1947. 

Michel Warlop (Michou to his friends) was a child prodigy and won every award and prize that existed for the violin in France before attaining the age of 18. Warlop began his musical studies with his mother, a music professor, and entered the Conservatory of Douai, the second oldest in France, aged six. 

There he was a student of Victor Gallois who had won the Prix de Rome for composition in 1905. Aged seven, he performed his first public concert accompanied by his mother on piano in Douai. Aged eight in 1919 he played his first concert in Paris, to benefit victims of World War I. He transferred to the Conservatory of Lille around the age of 10 and started his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris (university level) aged 13. 

In 1930, he joined Gregor and the Gregorians, a French big band featuring Stephane Grappelli (who gave up his violin spot when Warlop arrived to play piano with the band) and played with them on and off during the early 1930s. By 1936, he had more or less forsaken big bands to front small combos, playing with Django Reinhardt, among others. 

In mid-1939, Warlop started working as a permanent member of the Raymond Legrand Orchestra, the most popular big band in France during the early to mid-1940s. Warlop was called up for military service in September 1939 and left Paris. Soon after hostilities started between Germany and France he became a German prisoner of war. He was later released because of his tuberculosis and returned to France late in February 1941. 

After a visit home he went to Paris and took up his old chair in Legrand's orchestra. He also recorded with the Jazz Dixit and his own Septuor à Cordes (string septet) from time to time. Both of these units were made up of other musicians in the Legrand organization. The septet was very unusual in having four violins (including Warlop), two guitars and a string bass as its basic makeup. From time to time there was also a piano, drums and even a harp but not all appeared on each recording. 


Warlop wrote and arranged almost all of the Septuor's music which was in a style that blended a classical string setting with Warlop's jazz abilities. In 1942, he recorded his own Swing Concerto, which was made with a large concert orchestra. It took up both sides of a 30 cm/ 12 inch 78 RPM disc that ran for seven and a half minutes. Disques Swing did not issue it and it sat in the vaults until it was finally released on a CD in 1989. The work showed off Warlop's skills in both the classical and jazz realms but Swing feared that the mix of classical and jazz styles would not be well received. 

The same session that produced Warlop's performance of Swing Concerto also produced Le Noël du Prisonnier (A Prisoner's Christmas), another longer work that was released on both sides of a Columbia 12 inch/ 30 cm record rather than on Disques Swing. Both Noël du Prisonnier and Darrieux's rendition of Swing Concerto only sold a few hundred copies each and both discs are highly sought after by collectors today as they have never been re-issued. 

Warlop (2nd right) with members of
Legrand Orchestra

During 1941, Legrand's orchestra made a movie called Mademoiselle Swing, released in 1942 with singer Irène de Trebert. Warlop was the middle of the three violin players in the band for the film and can be heard on short solos in several instances. The film is available on DVD in France and only in French. In July and August 1942, Legrand's orchestra visited Germany and played for French war prisoners and laborers that were working there. They did not play for the German public or military during this tour or on German radio. Late in 1943, Warlop made his last recordings as a leader but stayed active in music, continuing on with Raymond Legrand. 

After the war many French musicians, singers and film stars were accused of supporting the enemy for appearing on German-controlled radio, playing for German troops or touring in Germany. Many were banned from working for a time. Warlop had to sit out for two months and Legrand for one year. He never played again in Paris or recorded after 1945. 

Despite of his abilities in classical music which would have gained him a good position in any classical orchestra in France, Warlop preferred to tour as a jazz soloist and in small groups in the south of France. His last engagement was with Jimmy Réna's small group at the Grand Hotel Superbagnières above Luchon, France in the Pyrenees near the border with Spain. His tuberculosis finally caught up with him, along with his heavy consumption of alcohol and cocaine. He died in the Bagnères de Luchon hospital, France, at the age of 36 in 1947. 

(Edited from Wikipedia)

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Ann Sothern born 22 January 1909

Ann Sothern (January 22, 1909 – March 15, 2001) was an American actress who worked on stage, radio, film, and television, in a career that spanned nearly six decades. 

Ann Sothern, who was born Harriette Arlene Lake in North Dakota, was trained as a classical singer by her concert-soprano mother. But she found her temperament and voice were more suited for musical comedy. On Broadway, she soon rose from small parts to leads in Ziegfeld shows under her real name. 

In 1933 she went to Hollywood, where she spent six years at various studios playing light-hearted heroines in mostly B pictures. However, she did have a chance to shine opposite Eddie Cantor in Kid Millions, and as Mimi, Maurice Chevalier's showgirl mistress, in Folies Bergère. In Trade Winds (1938), for United Artists, Sothern, as detective Fredric March's dumb blonde sidekick, stole the picture from the leading lady, Joan Bennett. 

Her performance gained the attention of MGM, who considered Sothern perfect to play the title role in Maisie. The studio had bought the 1935 Wilson Collison novel Dark Dame as a vehicle for Jean Harlow. After Harlow's premature death in 1937, it was shelved. When the MGM offer came, Sothern was shooting Hotel For Women at 20th Century-Fox, but when she accepted the offer from MGM, Darryl F Zanuck, head of Fox, removed her part out of pique. 

Sothern's comic vitality and warmth gave an added dimension to the character of the scatterbrained, accident-prone but resourceful blonde heroine. In each of the series, which included Congo Maisie, Maisie Was A Lady, Gold Rush Maisie and Swing Shift Maisie, she would start off alone, broke, irritable and vulgar, gradually making friends and money, and becoming charming and well-groomed, usually helping others out of fixes. From 1939 to 1947, Ann Sothern played footloose showgirl Maisie in 10 movies, and on radio for five years. 

With the Maisie movies, MGM had another hit series to add to Dr Kildare, Andy Hardy and Tarzan, and Ann Sothern had little time for other roles. However, her charm, pleasant singing voice and good looks were well used in musicals such as Lady Be Good (1941) and Panama Hattie (1942). She displayed dramatic talent in the all-female Cry Havoc (1943), as a warm-hearted army nurse in Bataan. 


Perhaps her best film was Joseph L Mankiewicz's A Letter To Three Wives (1948), for 20th Century-Fox. After playing Jane Powell's actress mother in Nancy Goes To Rio (1950) and Anne Baxter's wise-cracking roommate in Fritz Lang's The Blue Gardenia (1953), she retired from films, retaining her popularity on TV in 104 episodes of Private Secretary, which she produced herself. She later sold the rights for more than $1m. Sothern also held the rights of the equally popular The Ann Sothern Show, in which she played the assistant manager of a swanky New York hotel. 

Recurring hepatitis kept her off the screen for some years in the 1950s. During a particularly bad time in her life, she befriended the film actor Richard Egan, under whose influence she converted to Catholicism. Previously, she had been married to two minor screen actors, both of whom she had appeared with in films: Roger Pryor and Robert Sterling (aka socialite William J Hart). Her daughter by the latter, Tisha Sterling, became an actress. (She had a leading role in Coogan's Bluff with Clint Eastwood.) 

In the 1960s, having put on a great deal of weight in the interim, Sothern returned to the big screen playing blowsy hookers in three films: Lady In A Cage (1963), tormenting rich widow Olivia de Havilland; in Sylvia (1965), with Carroll Baker; and Chubasco (1967). In The Best Man (1964), she was a sententious and dangerous political committee woman. 

In 1974, Sothern was injured while appearing in a Jacksonville, Florida, stock production of Everybody Loves Opal when a fake tree fell on her back. The accident left her with a fractured lumbar vertebra and damaged nerves in her legs. Her injuries required hospitalizations where she was put in traction. She was also required to wear back braces. Due to her forced inactivity, Sothern gained a considerable amount of weight. In addition to her physical pain, Sothern also developed depression. For the remainder of her life, Sothern suffered from numbness in her feet and required a cane to walk. 

Apart from some schlocky movies in the 70s and 80s, she was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her role as the friend and confidante of elderly sisters Lillian Gish and Bette Davis in Lindsay Anderson's The Whales Of August (1987). On March 15, 2001, Sothern died from heart failure at her home in Ketchum at the age of 92. She was buried in Ketchum Cemetery. 

(Edited mainly from Ronald Bergen’s obit @ The Guardian & Wikipedia)

Friday, 21 January 2022

René Hernandez born 21 January 1916

René Hernandez (January 21, 1916 – September 5, 1977) was a Cuban pianist, arranger and a pioneer of big-band mambo and Afro-Cuban jazz in the United States. 

René Alejandro Hernández Junco was a native of Las Cruces-Las Villas, after becoming proficient on the piano; he joined a local orchestra called the Jakiki in the mid-1930s. There he met the trombonist and pianist Generoso Jiménez, with whom he joined Carmen Arellano's orchestra Arellano Fernández . He soon took over the direction of the orchestra and made name for himself as a performer of danzónes. 

Rene (3rd from left) with Tipica Siglo XX

With his brother Raúl he then joined the Orquesta Cienfuegos, one of the most important tipico jazz bands in Cuba. In Havana he appeared occasionally with the Siglo XX Orchestra, then becoming a member of the Orquesta Hermanos Palau and in 1940, of the orchestra of trumpeter and composer Julio Cueva. Hernandez wrote numerous arrangements until he was replaced by Damaso Pérez Prado. After a stint as pianist at Bebo Valdés ' Casino de la Playa, he travelled to the United States where he formed various ensembles and orchestras. 


He was an arranger for many outstanding dance bands and popular music singers, most notably, Machito’s Afro-Cubans during their golden era from 1946 – 1964. During this period, with the consent of its directors, he also made arrangements for most of the first level orchestras in New York including La Lupe, Vicentico Valdés, Celia Cruz and, Daniel Santos..  

Mario Bauza, René Hernandez & Machito

After leaving Machito he joined the orchestra of Tito Rodriguez which brought him to Puerto Rico where he settled. He worked there as an arranger for Eddie Palmieri in the 1970’s and played in several of the island's orchestras, including that of Miguelito Miranda at the Hilton Hotel, where he remained until his death in 1977. 

(Edited from Wikiwand, Billboard & Cuban Music A-Z) (Please note many sources give wrong year of death as 1987)