|Birth name||James Mui|
|Also known as||Chino Rodriguez|
|Born||February 2, 1954|
|Genres||Salsa, latin jazz|
|Labels||SALSA / Mary Lou Records, Oriente Music Group|
|Associated acts||Larry Harlow, Andy Harlow|
|Website||Oriente Music Group (OMG)|
Chino was born James Mui in New York City on February 2, 1954, in the Little Italy / Chinatown area of Manhattan to a Chinese father (Chueng Mui), who obtained U.S. citizenship by joining the Merchant Marines during World War II, and a third-generation Puerto Rican mother (Gloria Figueroa Rodriguez).
Early music career
Chino took music at JHS 65 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. By his late teens he had met Orchestra Dee Jay in Brooklyn, who soon allowed him into the fold as a band boy, then later as an occasional coro (chorus) singer. Chino formed his first band on the Lower East Side, simply called Chino Rodriguez and his Orchestra in 1968-69, playing weddings, birthdays, and private parties. Through the local musician's union American Federation of Musicians 802 Chino found work playing music for New York City Department of Parks arts program, from 1970 to 1974.
Maestro de Kung-Fu contained "La Computadora", the first Latin recording using a MOOG synthesizer, played by Larry Harlow. Cuban pianist Alfredo Rodriguez played on "Moonlight Serenade." Chino Rodriguez y La Consagracion was nominated for Latin New York Magazine's award for Best New Band. Chino's second album, Si Te Vas Mi China, was recorded in 1976 after a year's worth of daily rehearsals. It produced two hits upon its release in 1977 and, like his debut album, achieved gold status.
Latin music impresario
Chino returned to working full-time in the business side of the music industry in 1991, becoming Senior Vice President and General Manager of the newly formed Hidden Faces Records. Chino said in 2010: "I was made an offer to head up a record company call Hidden Faces and produce two of the artists signed. So I did it, I sold my company and went back to the music business with my eyes wide open." As General Producer, Chino streamlined the recording process for the label, choosing projects, music producers, songwriters, arrangers, budgets, and studios personally.
It was immediately evident that while some of the featured artists in Latin music were new, the same business people he had met working behind the scenes in the 1970s were still there. This network was advantageous when Chino decided to start his own businesses. After organizing business operations for Hidden Faces he opened his own artist management company, Chino Rodriguez Management (C.R.M.), and booking agency, OMNI Latino Entertainment (OLE), He opened his offices in Brooklyn, New York and began signing the surviving original pioneers of salsa music: Joe Cuba, Larry Harlow artists had not worked in years.
- Maestro De Kung-Fu, SALSA Records, 1976. Re-released on CD 2004 by Mary Lou/SALSA Records.
- Si Te Vas Mi China, SALSA Records, 1977. Re-released on CD 2004 by Mary Lou/SALSA Records.
- Flores, Juan. From Bomba to Hip Hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-231-11077-8
- Leymarie, Isabelle. Cuban Fire: The Story of Salsa and Latin Jazz. New York: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002. ISBN 978-0-8264-6566-5
- Washburne, Christopher. Sounding Salsa: Performing Latin Music in New York City. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-1-59213-316-1
- Review and samples of Maestro de Kung-Fu
- Music of Puerto Rico
- Andy Harlow interview for Descarga
- Latin Music USA PBS documentary
- Chino Rodriguez's Personal Blog