Perez Prado wasn't always
Mr. Nice Guy.
Milt Bernhart recalls a hilarious session with the Cuban King.
A troubled tour with Benny Goodman
Perez Prado - Voodoo Suite
Murray and Duke

This happened on a recording date with Perez Prado. We were recording the Shorty Rogers Voodoo Suite.

One of the movements involved a supposed street-fight in Havana - Carlos Vidal (conga drums) and another Cuban percussionist were to play the roles of the two participants in the rumble. After running the music down once or twice, one of them decided to really get into the spirit of the thing - he stripped down to his shorts!

Now, we began to record it. In the middle of their chanting and howling, they forgot where they were and really started to grapple. They were mad and they were wrestling. Half the band fell completely apart. The "take" stopped cold, and I fell on the floor convulsed. Prado seemed to be offended by our laughter and was glaring at me - and possibly Maynard Ferguson - we were in hysterics! Playing became a big problem, which made it even funnier.

The trombone player next to me, who was a regular Prado member, sat staring straight ahead, he didn't get it or he was afraid of Prado's anger. In fact he was visibly shaken and I heard later that Prado fired him. I did the laughing and Prado fired the kid who was trying to do his job. I do feel badly about that ... on the other hand, perhaps the kid went on to bigger and better things. His name was Dave Sanchez and I think he's a leading Latino player in NYC. So you see ... I did him a favor ... or at least that's what I keep telling myself.

More humour at Sinatra, Darin and Les Brown