Xavier Cugat (1 January 1900 – 27 October 1990) was a Spanish-American bandleader and native of Spain who spent his formative years in Havana, Cuba. A trained violinist and arranger, he was a leading figure in the spread of Latin music in United States popular music. His family immigrated to Cuba when Xavier was five. He was trained as a classical violinist and played with the Orchestra of the Teatro Nacional in Havana. On 6 July 1915, he and his family arrived in New York as immigrant passengers on board the S.S. Havana. Cugat appeared in recitals with Enrico Caruso, playing violin solos. In the late 1920s, Cugat put together another tango band that had some success in early short musical films. In 1931, Cugat had taken his band to New York for the 1931 opening of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, and he eventually replaced Jack Denny as the leader of the hotel’s resident band. For 16 years, Cugat helmed the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel‘s orchestra, shuttling between New York and Los Angeles for most of the next 30 years.