|Years active||1971 - 1974, 1981 - Present|
Little Willie G.
Four of Malo's original members (Santana, Leo, Garcia, Tellez, and Bean) had previously played in a band called "The Malibus". The other three founding members (Abel Zarate, Roy Murray, and Richard Spremich) had played together in a band called "Naked Lunch".
Malo's 1972 Top 20 hit single, "Suavecito," was written by timbales player Richard Bean, who initially wrote it as a poem for a girl in his high school algebra class. The song has been called "The Chicano National Anthem" and was arranged for Malo by Richard Bean, bassist Pablo Tellez, and Abel Zarate. Tellez and Zarate also received co-author credits on "Suavecito". Guitarist Abel Zarate gave Malo a distinctive two-guitar sound with intricate harmony and dual solos the norm. 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 Forrest Buchtel, Jr., Ron Smith, Paul C Saenz, Luis Gasca, and Tom Harrell in the trumpet section. Malo's music was also hugely popular in Central and South America, especially the songs "Chevere", "Nena", "Pana", "Cafe" and "Oye Mama".
After the release of its 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 with the current Malo band, which is also still touring, featuring only two of its original members and led by Arcelio Garcia Jr., who took over the band in the late 1970s.
The 1972 "Suavecito" release was sung by Richard Bean with Abel Zarate and Arcelio Garcia on background vocals and Zarate playing the signature guitar riffs. Richard Bean continues to perform the single with Sapo and recently shared his story of writing "Suavecito" on CalMagazine.com 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 went on to write "Take My Breath Away" with long-time friend Damon Bartlett and two other songs, "More Than Friends" and "Malo Ya Yellgo," with Arcelio Garcia. Since leaving Malo in 1998, Cantu has played with his new Gospel/Christian band, L-Rey.
|Year||Album||US Top 200||US R&B|
|1986||Coast To Coast||-||-|
|1998||Rock The Rockies||-||-|
|Date||Name||US Hot 100|
|I'm For Real||-|
|1973||I Don't Know||-|
|1974||Love Will Survive||-|
|1981||Lady I Love||-|