Krazy funk at Koyote

Pete Escovedo

Latin funk band Suav
é and famed percussionist Pete Escovedo return to the Krazy
Koyote on Saturday, March 5, bringing with them a mix of funk, pop,
salsa and R
&
amp;B.
The Suav
é and Escovedo last appeared locally on Oct. 19 for a crowd of
about 250 – a warm homecoming for Suavé guitarist and vocalist
Jerry Navarro, who grew up in the South Valley.
Latin funk band Suavé and famed percussionist Pete Escovedo return to the Krazy Koyote on Saturday, March 5, bringing with them a mix of funk, pop, salsa and R&B.

The Suavé and Escovedo last appeared locally on Oct. 19 for a crowd of about 250 – a warm homecoming for Suavé guitarist and vocalist Jerry Navarro, who grew up in the South Valley.

“I just enjoy showing off the band in the place that I grew up in,” said Navarro. “As we get bigger, there will be less and less small places like this. And to bring in a great musician, a Grammy-nominated person like Pete Escovedo is awesome.”

Escovedo, who owns Pete Escovedo’s Latin Jazz Club in San Jose, has cut back on his travel in the last few years to spend more time building his club and to rest as he approaches his 70th birthday in July.

“I’ve played a couple of shows with Suavé, and they wanted me to be a special guest with their band, but generally I really do not do small clubs or work with other bands outside my own,” said Escovedo, who agreed to play because he maintains a personal friendship with members of the band.

“Every year … I keep saying this is the last year,” he said of performing. “But as long as I feel good and feel able to play, I’m okay with it.”

Born in Pittsburgh, Calif., Escovedo was raised in a musical household in Oakland and started his professional career as an opening act for the Count Basie Orchestra at the Downbeat Club in San Francisco.

A saxophone and vibes player originally, he was lured to Latin rhythms when a friend found himself in need of a percussionist.

Escovedo listened to Latin records, studying the beats of Tito Puente and other famous artists of the day.

By the late 1960s, he had reached a modest level of success, playing in a family band called the Escovedo Brothers Latin Jazz Sextet with brothers Coke and Phil, when Carlos Santana beckoned.

Escovedo and his brother Coke would play and tour with the guitarist’s hugely popular group for three years, working with him on the albums “Moonflower,” “Oneness” and “Inner Secrets.”

But the pair broke off from Santana’s band in the 1970s to form their own band called Azteca, completing two records: a self-titled release and one called “Pyramid of the Moon.”

Escovedo spawned a musical family himself, producing three children who have gone on to become percussionists in their own right. Daughter Sheila E. rose to fame in 1984 with the release of her album and top 10 title track “Glamorous Life,” while son Juan chose the life of a backup musician. Escovedo’s other son, Peter Michael, has received recognition as a percussionist, television producer and songwriter.

Local band Suavé has played as a back-up band for Jorge Santana, brother of Carlos, who has described them as “One of the best bands currently on the Bay Area music scene.” Members of the group have toured or recorded with bands like The Stylistics, Tower of Power, Iron Butterfly and Malo before making an effort at getting themselves signed.

The group recently inked a deal with the Hollywood labelDoo Wop Records and plans to begin work on an album later this year.

The show starts at 9:30pm at Krazy Koyote, 8337 Church st in Gilroy. For more information, call (408) 848-1112.

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