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Malo (English: "Bad") is a musical group known for its blend of Latino, Rock, Jazz and Blues. The San Francisco-based ensemble was led by Arcelio Garcia and Jorge Santana, the brother of Latin-rock guitarist Carlos Santana.

OriginSan Francisco, California, United States
GenresChicano rock, Latin rock, Latin funk, jazz rock
Years active1971–1974, 1981–present
LabelsWarner Bros.
MembersHadley Caliman
Hipolito Colon
Luis Gasca
Jorge Santana
Francisco Aguabella
Frank Corsetti
Richard Bean
Leo Rosales
Tony Menjivar
Gabriel Manzo
Martin Cantu
Aki Starr
Frank Bailey
Ramiro Amador
Forrest Buchtel
Ron Demasi
Michael Fugate
Arcelio Garcia
Little Willie G.
Mike Heathman
Richard Kermode
Ron Murray
Roy Murray
Dan Orsborn
Victor Pantoja
Tom Poole
Roberto Quintana
Raul Rekow
Steve Sherard
Ronald Smith
Tony Smith
Joaquin Solorzano
Richard Spremich
Pablo Tellez
Abel Zarate
Jack Musgrove
Brian Beukelman
Paul Benavidez
Shadow Garza
Carlos Rivera
Jay Rossette

Four of Malo's original members (Santana, Garcia, Pablo Tellez, and Richard Bean) had previously played in the band The Malibus. The other three founding members (Abel Zarate, Roy Murray, and Richard Spremich) had played together in the group Naked Lunch.[1] (Bean and Zarate also played in a band called the Righteous Ones together)


Malo's 1972 Top 20 hit single, "Suavecito" (meaning "soft" or "smooth" in Spanish), was the group's biggest hit. The band featured full horn and percussion sections in the style of contemporary bands Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago. Some of the best musicians in the Bay Area were featured in Malo, including Luis Gasca, Forrest Buchtel, Jr., Ron Smith, and Tom Poole in the trumpet section. Malo's music was popular in Central and South America, especially the songs "Chevere", "Nena", "Pana", "Cafe", and "Oye Mama".[2]

After the release of their first album, many of Malo's original band members left the group in a rift widely popularized in the media. Buchtel went on to play with Blood, Sweat & Tears, Jaco Pastorius and Woody Herman; Harrell became one of the most lyrical trumpet soloists of all-time, working often with saxophonist Phil Woods; Abel Zarate went on to play with Latin-jazz legend Willie Bobo and continues to play Latin/Brazilian Global jazz in San Francisco with his group Zarate Pollace Project. Richard Bean formed the group "Sapo" with his brother Joe and still tours throughout Northern California; Jorge Santana embarked on a solo career and still plays frequently.

The 1972 "Suavecito" release was written and sung by Arcelio Garcia with Abel Zarate and Richard Bean on background vocals and Zarate playing the signature guitar riffs. Richard Bean continues to perform the single with MALO and recently shared his story of writing "Suavecito" on Channel 9.

In 1995, Malo released a new CD entitled Senorita on the GNP Crescendo records label. The title track of the CD was written by new lead singer Martin Cantu who like previous band members also grew up in San Francisco's Mission District. Martin also went on to co-write "Take My Breath Away" with long-time friend Damon Bartlett and two other songs, "More Than Friends" and "Malo Ya llego," co-written with Arcelio Garcia. Since leaving Malo in 1998, Cantu has played with his new Gospel/Christian band, L-Rey pronounced (El Rey). In 2010 Martin Cantu & L-Rey released the song "Jesus Cristo," a gospel rendition of Malo's hit song Suavecito.

A vocal section of "Suavecito" was included in the refrain of Sugar Ray's 1999 hit song, "Every Morning."

In 2004, Malo released a new CD/Album entitled "Malo en Vivo" on the EMI Latin record label which featured Aki Starr on lead vocals. Before joining Malo, Aki Starr was part of the Warner Bros group Spanish Fly, known for their success in the pop and freestyle genre. Spanish Fly's two hits, "Crimson & Clover" and "Daddy's Home" both charted on Billboard's top 100 pop singles of the US chart in 1995 and the group still tours globally today. Aki Starr sang with Malo from 1999 to 2010.

In March of 2017 original Malo founding member, Richard Bean, former Malo member, Tony Menjivar along with many former long-time MALO members who are recognized as Original Kings of Latin Rock, assembled together former MALO member veterans to create a distinct super group to carry on the Malo music legacy.

The current MALO band is led by Richard Bean and Tony Menjivar who are some of the original writers, composers, singers and artists who brought forth an ingenious part of the Malo musical journey. The group perform hits from their 1972 debut self-titled wax album project, "MALO" that produced the all-time MALO Classic, "Suavecito" through "MALO Dos" (1972), "Señorita" (1996), "Latin Legends Live, " (1997) and, "MALO En Vivo" (2005).

Richard Bean wrote the all-time classic hit song, SUAVECITO which is the only song for MALO that charted on Billboard’s top 20 at #18 for 10 weeks since its release in January of 1972.

Tony Menjivar co-wrote, Ritmo Tropical and Techno Rumba which debuted on the Thump Records, Latin Legends Live album released, October of 1997. Tony also recorded on the Senorita album released in 1995 by GNP Crescendo Records

Robert Quintana recorded on Malo’s Senorita album released in 1995 by GNP Crescendo Records. Robert also recorded on the Latin Legends Live album which was recorded at The Hop in La Puente, California released, October of 1997 by Thump Records.

Aki Starr recorded and sang lead vocals on the Malo En Vivo album released in 2005 through EMI Latin Music Distribution.



Year Album US Top 200 US R&B
1972 Malo[3] 14 10
Dos 62 13
1973 Evolution 101 39
1974 Ascención 188 -
1981 Malo V - -
1986 Coast to Coast - -
1992 The Best of Malo - -
1995 Señorita - -
1998 Rock the Rockies - -
2004 Malo En Vivo - -


Date Name US Hot 100 US Billboard AC
1972 "Suavecito" 18 8
"Café" - -
"Latin Bugaloo" - -
"I'm for Real" - -
1973 "I Don't Know" - -
1974 "Love Will Survive" - -
1981 "Lady I Love" - -
2004 "Dilo Otra Vez" - -


  1. ^ " - wingswest Resources and Information". Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  2. ^ "Redirecting". Retrieved September 15, 2016.
  3. ^ "Searching for "Arcelio Garcia Jr."". Retrieved September 15, 2016.

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