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Wind, Waves of Latin Jazz Swallow Solano – The Vacaville Reporter

East Bay’s history of R&B and funk, a propulsive mix of soul and high-energy rhythms punctuated by horn sections, is one of the leading American big bands operating today: Pete Escovedo and his Laid the foundations of the Latin Jazz Orchestra.

The 87-year-old Pittsburgh native and Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner Escovedo is a master percussionist who seamlessly plays the sounds of Latin jazz, salsa, funk and R&B. The 2021 recording “Rhythm of the Night” hits Fairfield’s Downtown Theater on Saturday.

In addition to Timbales’ family matriarch, the ensemble includes his son, Juan on congas, Peter Michael on drums, a four-piece horn section, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, and vocalist Leah Tise. increase.

“We still have our Bay Area funk base — Sly and The Family Stone, Santana, Tower of Power,” Peter Michael, 61, and former Vallejo resident said Tuesday in the Los Angeles area. He said in a telephone interview from home.

“We’re originally from Oakland,” he notes, noting that his nine most recent recordings include “Ain’t No Sunshine” (Al Green), “I’ll Be Around” (The Spinners), and “The Glamorous Life” cover. (By his sister, Sheila E.).

Peter Michael, who produced and arranged the album, said, “It was all the songs we grew up with, soul and R&B.” makes me want to

“At the same time, they are songs that everyone knows,” he added. “You can sing along.”

The latest recording wasn’t the first Escovedo effort to incorporate homages to soul and R&B tunes. In 2018, the family released “Back to the Bay”, “What You Want Do For Love” (co-written with Bobby Caldwell), and “Let’s Stay Together” ( Al Green), recorded a version of “Don’t You Worry Bout”. Thing” (Stevie Wonder).

Peter Michael said Fairfield audiences can expect to hear many songs from these albums, as well as others from the Escovedo discography. With a career spanning more than 50 years, the late American bandleader best known for his dance-oriented mambo and Latin jazz compositions, and composer of “Oye Como Va” It became even more widely known when it was released on the Santana album in 1970. “Abraxas” album.

Elder Escovedo, who played at the White House during the Obama administration, has broken down the walls between smooth jazz, salsa, funk and contemporary music for more than 50 years, making it “Latin Jazz,” said Peter Michael. “It was a melting pot.”

“It all makes sense,” he says, adding, “It’s the culture we were born into, our upbringing and our geographical history. Growing up in Oakland, his father is Mexican-American and his mother French Creole and black, my grandfather was an immigrant field worker who later became a pipe fitter and worked in a Bay Area shipyard.

Like many musicians, the pandemic has squeezed the ensemble’s live performance schedule, but Peter Michael said he’s kept busy producing music, TV shows, and music videos.

“I was perfectly fine, but with this particular orchestra, I was pretty much shut down,” he said.

But with the pandemic still present, but increasing against an increasingly vaccinated population, the shortened schedule appears to lag behind the orchestra.

Family patriarch Pete Escovedo (middle) plays timbales, and his Latin Jazz ensemble includes his sons, Juan on congas (left), Peter Michael on drums (right) and a quartet. horn section, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist, Leah Tisse.  (Photo contributed --
Family patriarch Pete Escovedo (middle) plays timbales, and his Latin Jazz ensemble includes his sons, Juan on congas (left), Peter Michael on drums (right) and a quartet. horn section, bassist, guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist, Leah Tisse. (Photo contributed —

Listening to the Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz Orchestra, and a lot of Latin music in general, is to make you smile, be merry, and feel the desire to tap your feet, even if you can’t get up and dance. .

“Actually, music comes out of dance,” said Peter Michael. “Cha-cha is dance. Waltz is dance. All these rhythms are from dance. That’s how they fit together. They really are one. You never know which comes first. Tango, mambo, merengue.” – These are all dances and rhythms.The sounds of Cuba and Puerto Rico are all from Africa.They are connected to the dances.They move the body.Your inner being creates those rhythms. I’m trying to feel it, it’s like your heartbeat.”

It’s no surprise that playing with your family will give you a certain sound. Especially when it comes to the singer’s family, who can blend voices effortlessly, as did his Beach Boys, the Wilson brothers, and other relatives. In that sense, is the Escovedo family playing with a percussive “voice”?

“I think it has rhythmic harmonies,” said Peter Michael. “I think it’s because we’re a family unit. We spend time with each other.”

“There were bands that lived with us,” he continued, citing The Beatles, Journey and Tower of Power. “Kool and the gang…they’ve been together their whole lives and we’ve been since we were kids. We all have our own careers. But when it came to my dad performing, We will work together to help him.”

Peter Michael added, “It’s a gift and an honor to not only have my 87-year-old father, but to be on stage with him. And it’s very rare.”

if you go
Pete Escovedo and his Latin Jazz Orchestra, featuring Juan and Peter Michael Escovedo
8 p.m. Saturday
downtown theater
1035 Texas Street, Fairfield
Tickets available at
Orchestra seats for $55. $45 balcony (plus $5 facilities fee)
*VIP Ticket Add-on, $25. This includes an artist meet and greet on stage at 7pm and entry to a live raffle for a signed copy of Escovedo’s latest CD, Rhythm of the Night. Books, and a very special set of his LP bongos from the Escovedo brand (valued at $379)

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