Jazz drummer Pete La Roca (born Peter Sims in New York City on April 7, 1938) has died. He passed away of lung cancer on November 19. He was 74.
Pete La Roca had drummed for an astounding array of jazz artists including John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Freddie Hubbard.
He began his career playing timbales in latin jazz bands and took the name La Roca at that time. From 1957 to '59 he played with Sonny Rollins and became an in-demand session player.
Pete also led his own groups in the early 1960s and recorded two albums as a band leader: 'Basra' in 1965 and 'Turkish Women at the Bath' in 1967, for which he was credited in The Rough Guide to Jazz as "the first person to record a totally free-tempo drum solo".
Soon after Pete abandoned music and became a lawyer. He began playing semi-regularly again in 1979, using his real last name and mentoring younger musicians.
And he led his own band called Swingtime; that was also the title of his final album, released on Blue Note in 1997.