Orquesta Casino de la Playa

Orquesta Casino de la Playa, founded in 1937 in Havana, Cuba, was a band that bridged Cuban popular music and the sound of American Jazz Big Bands. It was led by tres player Arsenio Rodríguez,[1] and launched the career of many important musicians in Cuban music.[2] The group took its name from the name of the casino where they worked. In 1948, it relocated to Mexico City.[1]


In the middle of 1937, RCA Victor made a variety of recordings in Havana with more than 20 groups with different formats. The Orquesta Casino de la Playa recorded six numbers, and among this songs they performed a version of Arsenio Rodríguez' "Bruca maniguá". With this recording, they began their growth in and outside of Cuba. Between 1937 and 1939, the band recorded over 60 songs and made several tours all along América.

In 1941, the director of the orchestra Anselmo Sacasas and the singer Miguelito Valdés abandoned the band and traveled to the United States to develop their own projects. Sacasas was substituted by Julio Gutiérrez.

The Casino de la Playa used several singers until 1945, when the popular Cascarita joined the band. Further, Dámaso Pérez Prado played piano and arranged for the band for a short time until he left Cuba and settled in México, where he developed his own vision of mambo.[citation needed]


The Casino de la Playa orchestra can be considered as one of the first Cuban jazz bands. This kind of band played a repertoire of Cuban songs with the characteristic sound of an American jazz band but with an emphasis on high quality singers.


  1. ^ a b Harris, Craig. "Orquesta Casino de la Playa | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2019-01-27.
  2. ^ Ordoqui García, Joaquín (2009). "Casino de la Playa". Archived from the original on 30 March 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2009.