East Bay’s history of R&B and funk, with its mix of soul and high-energy rhythms, punctuated by a horn section, has made one of the biggest bands in America working today, Pete Escovedo and his Latin Founded the Jazz Orchestra.
An 87-year-old Pittsburgh native and Lifetime Achievement Award winner from the Latin Grammys, Escovedo—a master percussionist who seamlessly plays Latin jazz, salsa, funk and R&B—brings it all, including his latest tunes. . 2021 recording, “Rhythm of the Night,” at Fairfield’s Downtown Theater on Saturday.
In addition to the family patriarch on tumbles, the ensemble includes his son, Juan on congas, Peter Michael on drums, a four-piece horn section, a bassist, guitarist, keyboard player and a vocalist, Leah Tice.
“We still have the Bay Area funk foundation — Sly and the Family Stone, Santana, Tower of Power,” Peter Michaels, 61 and a former Vallejo resident, said in a telephone interview Tuesday from his Los Angeles-area home. said during
“We were originally from Oakland,” he said, including covers of “Ain’t No Sunshine” (Al Green), “I’m Around” (The Spinners), “The Glamorous Life” on recent No Tune recordings. Included. (by her sister Sheila E.).
“It was all the songs we grew up with, soul and R&B,” said Peter Michael, who produced and arranged the album. “We made Latin versions of them. They make you want to get up and dance.”
“At the same time, they’re songs that everybody knows,” he added. “You can sing along with them.”
The latest recording wasn’t Escovedo’s first attempt at paying homage to soul and R&B tunes. In 2018, the family released “Back to the Bay” with versions of “What You Won’t Do For Love” (with Bobby Caldwell), “Let’s Be Together (Al Green), and “Don’t You Worry’ Boat With the version of One Thing” (Stevie Wonder).
Peter Michael said Fairfield audiences can expect to hear many songs from these albums and from Escovedo’s discography — 10 solo albums, two with Sheila E., and the “Latina Familia” live albums, featuring Sheila E. and the late Includes Tito Puente. , the late American bandleader best known for his dance-oriented mambo and Latin jazz compositions over a 50-year career and composer of “Oy Como Va” (Hey, How’s It Going), even more so when Santana released it in 1970. Became famous. “Abraxas” album.
Over five decades, the elder Escovedo, who performed at the White House during the Obama administration, broke down the barriers between smooth jazz, salsa, funk, and contemporary music and made it “Latin jazz,” said Peter Michael. “It was a melting pot.”
“It all makes sense,” he added, “it’s the culture we come from, our upbringing and geographic” history. His father, raised in Oakland, is Mexican American, his mother French Creole and Black, his grandfather an immigrant field worker who later became a pipefitter and worked in Bay Area shipyards.
As it does for many musicians, the pandemic crushed the ensemble’s live performance schedule, but Peter Michael said they stayed busy making music, TV shows and music videos.
“I was all right, but for this particular orchestra we were pretty much locked in,” he said.
But a reduced schedule seems to be behind the orchestra as the pandemic, while still present, is working against a population that is increasingly being vaccinated and, thus, more likely to perform live. It proves good.
Listening to the Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz Orchestra — and much Latin music in general — is to smile, be happy, and feel the urge to tap your feet, if not get up and dance.
Peter Michael said that music actually comes from dance. “The cha-cha is a dance. The waltz is a dance. All these rhythms are from the dance. That’s how they agree. They really are one. I don’t know which came first. The tango, the mambo, the merengue—they’re all dances. And the rhythm, too. The sounds of Cuba and Puerto Rico—it all comes from Africa. It’s connected to the dance. It’s going to move your body. Your inner being will feel those rhythms. It’s almost your heart. is like the beat of
This is because playing with family members can lead to a distinctive sound, especially a family of singers who can easily blend their voices, as the Beach Boys, the Wilson Brothers, and other relatives did. what was Thus, does the Escovedo family perform with an attractive “sound”?
“I would say we have a rhythmic harmony,” Peter Michael said. “And I would attribute that because we’re a family unit — because of the time you spend with each other.”
“There were bands that lived together,” he continued, citing The Beatles, Journey, and Tower of Power. “Cole and the gang … they spent their whole lives together and we’ve done that since we were kids.” We all have our own careers. But when it comes to our father performing, we will help him.
Peter Michael added, “It’s a gift and an honor – and how extraordinary – to have our father at 87 but also on stage with him”.
If you went
Pete Escovedo and his Latin Jazz Orchestra, featuring Juan and Peter Michael Escovedo
Saturday night at 8 p.m
1035 Texas St., Fairfield
Tickets are available at ftpresents.com:
$55 orchestra seating; $45 balcony (plus $5 facility fee)
*VIP ticket add-on, $25, includes a meet-and-greet with an artist on stage at 7pm and entry into a live drawing for a signed copy of Escovedo’s latest CD, “Rhythm of the Night,” autographed by copybook, and a special set of Escovedo-branded LP Bongos ($379 value)