Popularity

The Mexicali Brass were apparently created by Crown Records, a subsidiary of the Bihari Brothers’ Modern Records, in order to cash in on the popularity of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass and The Baja Marimba Band during the 1960s.

Teddy Phillips, the band’s leader, graduated from Oak Park River High School, where he had learned to play the sax in school band. After graduation, he toured with many bands and also worked in radio studio bands for both NBC and CBS

He formed his own band in 1944, the Teddy Phillips Orchestra, which played at local Chicago clubs until 1947, when he played the Aragon Ballroom. The band was a fixture there and at the Trianon and Willowbrook Ballrooms became the best known band in town. Curiously, his popularity came just as the Big Bands era was closing.

By the 1960s, he had transformed the band into the Mexicali Brass, a Las Vegas style Mariachi Band. During the 1970s, he continued performing with the band, and toured the USA briefly.

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