Pete Escovedo has certainly had a life and a career worth celebrating. He?s been a major force in Latin music since the late 1960s, and his versatility has resulted in success in several areas of music, from Latin jazz and salsa to rock and Latin pop.
Born into a musical family in Oakland, California, Pete Escovedo and his brother Thomas "Coke" Escovedo developed quickly as percussionists, eventually forming the Escovedo Brothers Latin Jazz sextet (with their other brother Phil playing bass). That group broke up in 1967 when Carlos Santana hired Pete and Coke for his Latin rock group. They toured with Santana for the next three years.
Not content to accompany, Pete and Coke departed Santana and founded one of the most revered West coast Latin bands, Azteca. The band fused Afro-Cuban, South American, jazz, funk, and pop elements in infectious proportions. Azteca released two impressive albums on Columbia before calling it quits.
Since that time, Pete Escovedo has performed with such notable artists as Herbie Hancock, Woody Herman, Cal Tjader, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Bobby McFerrin, Stephen Stills, Billy Cobham, Anita Baker, George Duke, Boz Scaggs, Al Jarreau, Ray Obiedo, Dionne Warwick, Barry White, Arturo Sandoval, Chick Corea, Dave Valentin, and Prince.
Pete Escovedo's passion for fueling the Latin jazz scene has been recognized with numerous awards, including a congressional citation and ABC Television Profile of Excellence! But he?d probably say that his greatest accomplishments are his talented children.
In addition to his many solo albums, Pete Escovedo has released recordings with his daughter Sheila E. and sons Peter Michael and Juan.
Pete Escovedo has also had a significant influence on the design and creation of percussion instruments. His Toca signature timbales reflect his deep experience in the heart of the Afro-Cuban scene and incorporate the best features of vintage drums with added modern durability.
Legendary Percussionist Pete Escovedo is an artist who broke down the barriers between Smooth Jazz, Salsa, Latin Jazz and contemporary music. His name has been synonymous in the music industry for more than 50 years.
Born in Pittsburg, CA, July 13th, 1935, he began his musical journey while attending high school in Oakland, CA. At the age of sixteen, he began playing the saxophone and then discovered percussion which became his love of rhythm and his dream of playing Latin Jazz music.
After performing with various bands, in 1960 Pete and his brothers, Coke and Phil Escovedo formed the Escovedo Brothers Latin Jazz band, performing around the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 1970 Pete and Coke formed the band “Azteca” that toured the United States with Stevie Wonder and The Temptations. They recorded two albums on Columbia records which are now considered collectors items, “Azteca” and “Pyramid of the Moon”.
In 1972 Pete toured and performed with the Carlos Santana band and recorded three major albums, “Moonflower”, “Oneness” and “Inner Secrets”.
In 1978 Pete and daughter Sheila E. recorded two albums on Fantasy records “Solo Two” and “Happy Together” which were produced by Billy Cobham.
Pete’s versatility as a Percussionist has been featured in performances and recordings by a wide range of Artists such as Carlos Santana, Tito Puente, 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 Bofill, Arturo Sandoval, Poncho Sanchez, Chick Corea, Dave Valentine, Najee, Gerald Albright, Prince, and the list goes on.
He has performed with his Orchestra for President Obama twice at the White House.
As a solo artist Pete has recorded 7 acclaimed albums on Concord Records:
- Yesterday’s Memories, Tomorrow’s Dreams - Live in Concert (1987)
- Mister E (1988) - nominated for a Grammy
- Flying South (1996)
- E - Street (1997)
- E - Music (2000)
- Pete Escovedo Live (2003)
- Live From Stern Grove (2012)
Pete has also received numerous awards for:
- 1983 Jammie Jazz Musician Of The Year
- 1984 Bammie Latin Musician Of The Year
- 1989 Grammy Nomination for Mister E
- San Francisco State College Purple Globe Award
- Ronald Dellums Congressional Award
- National Recording Academy Governors Award San Francisco Chapter and Chicago Chapter
- California Arts and Council Award
- ABC Television Profile of Excellence Award
Has appeared in the following movies:
- Jack (1996)
- Chasing Papi (2003)
- Escovedo's - Oakland, CA
- Mister E.'s - Berkeley, CA
- Mr. E.'s Spotlight on the Square - Alameda, CA
- Pete Escovedo's Latin Jazz Club - San Jose, CA
Pete Escovedo believes that there is healing through music and has donated his time to numerous charity events to help children around the world by teaching the importance of music.
Today Mr. Pete Escovedo leads one of the top Latin-Jazz Orchestras in the country performing his own unique sound and continues to deliver his music throughout the world.