Edmundo Ros – Olé Mambo

Edmundo Ros – Olé Mambo

At the same time he was the vocalist and percussionist in Don Marino Baretto’s band at the Embassy Club, and also recorded several sides as a sideman to Fats Waller, who was visiting London in 1938.

In August 1940, Ros formed his own rumba, performing as Edmundo Ros and His Rumba Band at style of Lecuona Cuban Boys directed by Armando Oréfiche.

In 1941 he cut his first tracks with Parlophone, the first number being “Los Hijos de Buda”. The band played regularly at the Coconut Grove club in Regent Street, attracting members of London’s high society and Royal family.

Ros’s bands were always based in London nightclubs or restaurants. The first was the Cosmo Club in Wardour Street; then followed the St Regis Hotel, Cork Street, the Coconut Grove and the Bagatelle Restaurant that opened the doors for Ros and high society.

All the leaders of Allied Countries in II World War and the Royal Family came there to dine and listen to Edmundo’s Rumba Band. At the Bagatelle a visit from Princess Elizabeth and party made his name. The future queen danced in public for the first time to Edmundo’s music.

By then, with his gently rhythmic style and engaging vocals, he was enormously popular with the public generally, and his orchestra was often invited to play at Buckingham Palace.

By 1946 Ros owned a club, a dance school, a record company and an artistes’ agency. His band grew to 16 musicians and was renamed Edmundo Ros and His Orchestra. Among his percussionists was Ginger Johnson.His number “The Wedding Samba”, 1949, sold three million 78s.

His album Rhythms of The South (1958) was one of the first high-quality LP stereo records: it sold a million copies. He was with Decca Records from 1944 to 1974, and altogether he made more than 800 recordings.

In 1951 Ros bought the Coconut Grove on Regent Street and in 1964 renamed it Edmundo Ros’s Dinner and Supper Club. The club became popular for its atmosphere and music, but it closed in 1965, when legalised casino gambling had drawn away many of its best customers.

During the 1950s and 1960s the Ros orchestra appeared frequently on BBC Radio, continuing into the early 1970s on Radio Two Ballroom.

In the early 60s, he collaborated with the Ted Heath orchestra on the album Heath versus Ros (Decca Phase 4 1964) that exploited the relatively new stereo recording process. The shift in musical tastes during the decade affected Ros’s standing but he played on into the 70s.

In 1975, during Ros’s seventh tour of Japan, his band’s Musicians’ Union shop steward tried to usurp Ros’s authority by making arrangements with venues behind his back.

Upon their return to the UK Ros organised a celebratory dinner after a BBC recording session and announced the disbanding of the orchestra. He destroyed almost all the charts (arrangement sheets), which conclusively ended the orchestra’s existence.

In 1994 Edmundo conducted and sang with the BBC Big Band with Strings at The Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. The other conductor was Stanley Black. The concert was broadcast over BBC Radio 2 and it was such a success that a Japanese recording company invited them into a recording studio in London to make yet another Edmundo Ros CD.

Affiliations and honours
Ros was a Freeman of the City of London, having been admitted to the Freedom of the Worshipful Company of Poulters on 5 January 1965 and subsequently clothed with the Livery of the Poulters’ Company on 22 June 1965.

He was a Freemason, imitated into the Chelsea Lodge No 3098 and a Founder Member and Worshipful Master of Lodge of Ascension No 7358; on retirement a member of Sprig of Acacia Lodge No 41, Javea, Spain.

Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music (1991). He normally was nicknamed by fans and journalists as the King of Latin Music.

In the 2000 New Year Honours, Ros (then aged 90), was appointed by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in ceremony at Buckingham Palace. He turned 100 on 7 December 2010.

Personal life
Ros married twice: first to Britt Johansen in 1950. The first marriage produced two children, Douglas and Louisa. He designed and built a large house in Page Street, Mill Hill, London NW7, which he named Edritt House, after himself and his first wife. The house still stands, next to Copthall Girls’ School. He remarried in 1971.

Ros retired and moved to Jávea, Alicante, Spain. He gave his last public performance on 8 January 1994. He died on 21 October 2011, shortly before his 101st birthday.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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