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Pete Escovedo to appear at Seattle’s Jazz Alley with Sheila E. and Juan Escovedo

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Legendary percussionist Pete Escovedo brings his Latin jazz orchestra to Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley February 18-21. The orchestra features his son Juan Escovedo and daughter Sheila E, both of whom have carved out music careers of their own. Born in and still based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Escovedo has been a jazz force for some 50 years now.

Escovedo was a key pioneer of the Latin jazz fusion sound from the early 1970s. Besides playing and touring with Santana, he co-founded the influential Latin jazz-rock-fusion band Azteca with his brother, Coke Escovedo. Azteca was the first large-scale attempt to combine multiple musical elements in the context of a Latin orchestra setting, and featured horns, woodwinds, multiple keyboards, three vocalists, guitars, drums, and multiple Latin percussionists. Consisting of between 15-25 members, Azteca toured with Stevie Wonder and the Tempations. Notable Azteca alumni included drummer Lenny White, bassist Paul Jackson, vocalist Wendy Haas, trumpeter Tom Harrell, guitarist Neal Schon, vocalist Errol Knowles and percussionist Victor Pantoja. The group was also a musical starting point for Latin percussionist Sheila E., who appeared with the band as a teenager.

Fans of that sound should be sure to check out the 2009 documentary, La Piedra Del Sol, which features a reunion concert of some of the original members.

Escovedo has played with a who’s who of jazz musicians during his career: Tito Puente, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau, Boz Scaggs, George Duke, Angela Bofil, Woody Herman, Mongo Santamaria, Cal Tjader, and Prince, to name just a few.

Sheila E., best known for her work with Prince and Ringo Starr, has been a highly successful artist in her own right. And Juan Escovedo, first-born son of the 4 kids, is a gifted percussionist, performing and recording with artists as diverse as MC Hammer, Bobby McFerrin and Patti LaBelle.

Rounding out the orchestra are band members Joe Rotundi (piano), Marc VanWageningen (bass), Melecio Magdaluyo (alto, tenor saxophone and flute), Mario Gonzales (trumpet), Kerry Loeschen (trombone), Doug Beavers (trombone). Set times Thursday through Saturday at 7:30pm and 10:00pm. Set time Sunday at 7:30pm. Doors open at 6:00pm on Thursday and 5:30pm Friday through Sunday.

When: 7:30 and 10 p.m. Feb. 18, 19 & 20; 7:30 p.m. Feb. 21, Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., Seattle; $26.50 (206-441-9729 or www.jazzalley.com).