As far as household names in percussion go Pete Escovedo ranks high on the list. A prominent San Francisco/Oakland area multi-percussionist and a force in the local festival and recording scene, even in his seventies, Pete is known worldwide for his session work and solo albums.
Born in California, Pete's first encounter with music was the saxophone. By school end, however, the instrument yielded place to the bongos. Pete's first explorations were on a makeshift pair, cobbled together out of tin cans and household adhesives. During the sixties, armed with the real thing, Pete joined his brother Coke and gigged the Bay Area in a unit called the Escovedo Brothers Latin Jazz Sextet. It didn't mark the end of his day job, but it led to chops, stamina and a growing respect for his professionalism.
In 1972, both Pete and Coke joined Santana, touring and recording several albums with the guitarist and establishing a high standard to which their successors would have to adhere. Pete's timbale playing drew the spotlight but he was becoming increasingly well-versed in other Afro-Cuban percussion instruments.
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 sent down roots in the west coast, while many of its members, Lenny White and Stanley Clarke, to name but two, went to New York and enjoyed further success. Azteca released two albums on Columbia before calling it quits.