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Generoso Jimenez

Although the trombone often gets short shrift behind vocals, flute or even saxophone in Cuban music, Generoso "El Tojo" Jiménez is noteworthy as one of the best trombone players in Cuban history. He was born in the small town in Cruces, in what is now the province of Cienfuegos, on July 17, 1917. As with any aspiring musician from the provinces, his path eventually took him 150 miles northwest to Havana, where the legendary pre-revolutionary nightlife had attracted musicians and music lovers from all over the world. Jiménez thrived in this environment, eventually winning a coveted spot with Beny Moré's wildly popular orchestra in 1955. He stayed with the band as a composer and lead soloist until 1959, but his time there is still marked by the coros of Moré's hit "Que Bueno Baila Usted," where the band sings out repeatedly "Generoso! How well you play!"

After leaving Moré's orchestra, Jiménez recorded several albums with his own orchestra, including El Trombón Majadero, meaning "The Unruly Trombone," which was re-released in the United States by Bembé Records in 1997. By that time, Jiménez had been retired for decades and was living in obscurity and near-poverty like most other Cubans. The re-release aimed not only to revive some great Cuban session playing, but also to provide a supplement to Jiménez's income, a bonus that was a richly deserved perk of the rekindled American interest in old Cuban music.

A frequently asked question about Jiménez is how he came to have the nickname "El Tojo." The Cuban attitude towards Asians has always been a sort of affable provinciality bordering on racism, and anyone with even slightly almond-shaped eyes, even if they have no actual Asian blood, is instantly saddled with nicknames like "Chino"; Jiménez was no exception. The members of his band thought he looked vaguely Asian, hence the decidedly un-PC nickname of "Tojo." ~ Nathan Thornburgh, Rovi
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