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For other uses, see Malo (disambiguation).
Origin San Francisco, California, United States
Genres Chicano rock, Latin rock, Latin funk, jazz rock
Years active 1971–1974, 1981–present
Labels Warner Bros.
Members Hadley Caliman
Hipolito Colon
Luis Gasca
Jorge Santana
Francisco Aguabella
Frank Corsetti
Richard Bean
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
Raul Rekow
Leo Rosales
Steve Sherard
Ronald Smith
Tony Smith
Richard Spremich
Pablo Tellez
Abel Zarate
Martin Cantu
Jack Musgrove
Brian Beukelman
Paul Benavidez

Malo was an American Latin-tinged rock and roll group. The San Francisco-based ensemble was led by Arcelio Garcia and Jorge Santana, the brother of Latin-rock guitarist, Carlos Santana.

Five of Malo's original members (Santana, Leo, Garcia, Tellez, and 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]


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, Luis Gasca, and Tom Poole 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".[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 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 Channel 9.[3]

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.

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



Year Album US Top 200 US R&B
1972 Malo[4] 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 - -


Date Name US Hot 100
1972 "Suavecito" 18
"Café" -
"Latin Bugaloo" -
"I'm For Real" -
1973 "I Don't Know" -
1974 "Love Will Survive" -
1981 "Lady I Love" -


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