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Pete Escovedo Orchestra

About this Artist

In the words of PETE ESCOVEDO's daughter Zina:

Having to share space was not easy with a household of seven children. My father (Pete) lived in a small house with his mom, dad, sisters, and brothers. As full as this house was with family, there was always room for more. Musicians came in and out of this household bringing live music - in the backyard, in the front yard, in the front room, wherever they could play, they would.

In 1954 my father's first instrument in school was the saxophone. It didn't take long to discover that this was definitely not his calling. So he decided to try another instrument, bongos. He made his first set out of coffee cans and tape that he painted himself, he was so determined to play. Also in this same year my father and mother met in junior high school; they courted for 2 1/2 years and fell in love.

On October 21, 1956, my parents got married. My mother's dress was made by a friend of the family that lived just a few blocks away; her name was Ms. Brown. My father asked his own band to play at the reception for free. The hall was filled with many family and friends. Soon after the wedding is when life began and the Escovedo family was born. Escovedo Family: Sheila, born December 12, 1957; Juan, born March 13, 1959; Peter Michael, born July 7, 1961; and I (Zina) was born November 26, 1967.

In 1960 my uncles Coke and Phil joined my father and formed the group called The Escovedo Brothers Latin Jazz Sextet. They played all over, carrying their own instruments from one town to another on the bus to get to their next gig and earn their $50. They played in famous places like the Matador, Jazz Workshop, The Tropics, and The Basin St. West. After their late night gigs, the three brothers would get something to eat and talk about music, traveling, and being famous one day. Music was everything to them; it was their life.

In 1972 my father and Uncle Coke went on tour with guitarist Carlos Santana. Pops toured with Santana for three years, performing internationally and playing on the albums Moonflower, Oneness, and Inner Secrets. Even though that was a great experience for my father, he was not satisfied and needed to make his own name and his own music. In the 1970s my father and Uncle Coke founded the band Azteca and recorded two albums for Columbia, a self-titled debut album and Pyramid of the Moon. They finally made a name for themselves. They accomplished their dream.

From the '70s 'til now, my father has performed and toured with many great and respected artists, such as Herbie Hancock, Mongo Santamaria, Bobby McFerrin, Cal Tjader, Woody Herman, Stephen Stills, Billy Cobham, Anita Baker, George Duke, Boz Scaggs, Andy Narell, Al Jarreau, Ray Obiedo, Dionne Warwick, Marlena Shaw, Barry White, Angela Bofil, Arturo Sandoval, Poncho Sanchez, Chick Corea, Dave Valentine, Najee, Gerald Albright, and none other than the most gifted and respected person that we will always call family, the legendary Tito Puente.