Graciela Grillo Pérez (August 23, 1915 – April 7, 2010), now considered jazz legend, was an Afro-Cuban singer who is credited with paving the way for artists like Celia Cruz and La Lupe. Born in Havana, Perez-Gutierrez began performing with the all-female Orquestra Anacaona, where she played bass and sang. In 1942, she became the first woman to front a major tropical band when she moved to New York to sing with the Afro-Cuban orchestra led by her stepbrother Machito. She performed primarily with Machito and her brother-in-law Mario Bauza for decades. Her best-known songs include “Esta es Graciela”, “Intimo y Sentimental” and “Esa Soy Yo, Yo Soy Así”.
In 2010, Graciela Perez-Gutierrez died at the age of 94 at New York Cornell-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City, leaving a niece and two adult children.