Bobby Espinosa

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Bobby Espinosa
Born April 29, 1949
Los Angeles, California
Died February 27, 2010
White Memorial hospital, East Los Angeles
Genres Latin rock
Instruments Organ
Years active 1965–2010
Associated acts Mickey & The Invaders , The VIPs, El Chicano, Thee Rhythm Kings

Bobby Espinosa was an influential and important part of the Latin rock scene in Los Angeles from the late 1960s to the 2000s. He was a founding member of El Chicano.

Background[edit]

Espinosa was born on Apr. 29, 1949 in Los Angeles County. At a young age he was influenced by Salsa music in a big way. His parents, especially his mother would dance to Tito Puente.[1]

Death[edit]

Having been ill for some time, Espinosa died on February 27, 2010, aged 60, at White Memorial hospital in East Los Angeles.[2][3] He was survived by his son Bobby Espinosa Jr. and daughter Reyna Espinosa, six grandchildren as well as other family members that include a brother and sister.[4]

Musical career[edit]

Espinosa was said to have his own unique sound. He had a percussive approach to playing the Hammond B-3 organ for which he is recognized for by some of his peers, people and fans from Los Angeles.[5][6] He is regarded as an icon in the Chicano community.[7][8][9][10]

Early days[edit]

In the 1960s he was a member of East L.A. Surf group Mickey & The Invaders playing organ. The band which was previously called Mickey & The Cavaliers, was led by Mike James Aversa aka Mickey.[11][12] He left the band in the mid 1960s to join the VIPs, a Chicano band.[13] This group which was formed in 1965 by bass player Freddie Sanchez was a night club covers band. Espinosa was the first member brought into the band by Sanchez.[14]

El Chicano[edit]

In 1969, the VIPs evolved into what became known as El Chicano. For forty years Espinosa was a force in the group. He also produced and wrote some of their material. He also played on every recording the group made.[15] The recognizable sound of El Chicano mainly came from Espinosa's B-3 organ and the Wes Montgomery styled guitar playing of Mickey Lespron.[16]

In the 1980s legal argument between Espinosa and fellow co-founder Mickey Lespron developed. This was over the ownership of the El Chicano name. As a result, there was a temporary halt on the group's career and the discontinuation of their association with Columbia.[17]

In a JazzTimes review of the Latin Legends Live album that featured Malo, El Chicano and Tierra, reviewer Marcela Breton referred to Espinosa's playing as the standout on the three El Chicano tracks.[18]

Post El Chicano and other[edit]

In 1998, the album Painting the Moment was released. Even though the album is credited with the El Chicano name, it is regarded as a solo album by Espinosa.[19][20] In later years he guested on some artists recordings including Si Se Puede recorded in 1996 by Tapestree, a group made up of veterans of the L.A. music scene.[21][22] Also the debut album by Thee Rhythm Kings, Killing Time.[23] In 2003, he was at one of Gilbert Esquivel's shows in his early days in Hollywood. He was on stage with Chicano singer Rocky Padilla, Sal Rodriguez from the group WAR and Isaac Avila from Tierra.[24]

He was still playing music in spite of health issues right up until early 2010. He also played a concert at the Inland Empire with former bandmate and Tierra founder Rudy Salas at that time.[25]

He has been inducted into the "Hammond Heroes" society. He at the time had the distinction of being the only Latin organist recognized for his blues, Latin and jazz style.[26]

Francisco "Pancho" Tomaselli who was the bass player for the group WAR jammed with Espinosa. He recalled his first time playing "Viva Tirado" was with him.[27]

Documentary[edit]

  • El Chicano: In the Eye of the Storm... Himself - (2009)[28]
  • Hammond Heroes... Himself[29]

Discography[edit]

  • Painting the Moment - Thump Records - (1998)[30]

Appears on[edit]

  • Con Safos - "C/S" - Los Angelinos (The Eastside Renaissance) - Zyanya Records – RNLP 062 - (1983) (various artists album)[31]
  • Tapestree - Si Se Puede (You Can Make It) - (1996)[32][33]
  • Thee Rhythm Kings - Killing Time.[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Los Angeles Times December 24, 1998 Banded Together - Ernesto Lechner
  2. ^ The Music's Over Died On This Date (February 27, 2010) Bobby Espinosa / Founding Keyboardist For El Chicano
  3. ^ Mark Guerrero website Passages, Bobby Espinosa
  4. ^ Los Angeles Times March 01, 2010 Bobby Espinosa dies at 60; keyboardist for 1970s Latin soul band El Chicano
    El Chicano's sound blended funk, jazz, rock and R&B. The East L.A. group had top-40 hits in the '70s with 'Viva Tirado' and 'Tell Her She's Lovely. By Claire Noland
  5. ^ 89.3KPCC March 02 2010 Co-founder of seminal East L.A. band El Chicano dies by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez
  6. ^ El Reportero CHICANO ROCKER: Bobby Espinosa y El Chicano. by Antonio Mejías-Rentas
  7. ^ San Diego La Prensa March 26, 2010 El Chicano band member joins elite group in Rock and Roll Heaven by Joe Ortiz
  8. ^ Brotherhood Band Bobby Espinosa of El Chicano
  9. ^ Mr. Duran Productions In memory of El Chicano's Bobby Espinosa (b. 04.29.49 - d. 02.27.10)
  10. ^ ¡LatinoLA! March 8, 2010 A Tribute to Bobby Espinosa By Chico Manqueros
  11. ^ Oye Como Va!: Hybridity and Identity in Latino Popular Music Deborah Pacini Hernandez Page 38 Chapter 3 West Coast Mexican Americans and Rpck 'n' Roll
  12. ^ You found that Eastside Sound Saturday, June 30, 2012 Eastside bands - Mickey & The Invaders/Dyna Might
  13. ^ Footsteps in the Dark: The Hidden Histories of Popular Music George Lipsitz Banda 55
  14. ^ Mexican American News Dec. 3, 2014 The Roots of Brown Eyed Soul by Gabriel San Roman, OC Weekly Archived November 17, 2015, at the Wayback Machine.
  15. ^ ¡LatinoLA! March 8, 2010 A Tribute to Bobby Espinosa By Chico Manqueros
  16. ^ Encyclopedia of Latino Popular Culture Cordelia Candelaria Page 237 E, El Chicano
  17. ^ Latin Music: Musicians, Genres, and Themes Ilan Stevens El Chicano Page 243
  18. ^ Jazz Times January/February 1998 Various Artists, Latin Legends Live By Marcela Breton
  19. ^ The New Los Angeles Music Awards Jerry Salas
  20. ^ Los Angeles Times December 24, 1998 Banded Together - Ernesto Lechner
  21. ^ Los Angeles Times September 12, 1996 Rewards Often Outweigh Risks in Producing a CD - Page 1
  22. ^ Los Angeles Times September 12, 1996 Rewards Often Outweigh Risks in Producing a CD - (Page 2 of 3)
  23. ^ ReverbNation Thee Rhythm Kings / Bio
  24. ^ ¡LatinoLA! February 22, 2013 People, Spotlight on the Brown: Singer Rocky Padilla .A.'s King of Chicano R & B by Frankie Firme
  25. ^ 89.3KPCC March 02 2010 Co-founder of seminal East L.A. band El Chicano dies by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez
  26. ^ San Diego La Prensa March 26, 2010 El Chicano band member joins elite group in Rock and Roll Heaven by Joe Ortiz
  27. ^ OC Weekly Tue., Mar. 2 2010 r.i.p. War Bassist Remembers East L.A. Music Legend Bobby Espinosa of El Chicano By Gabriel San Roman
  28. ^ Imdb El Chicano: In the Eye of the Storm (2009)
  29. ^ Casino Del Sol Resort Entertainment, Ram Herrera with special guest El Chicano
  30. ^ Los Angeles Times December 24, 1998 Banded Together - Ernesto Lechner
  31. ^ Discogs Various – Los Angelinos (The Eastside Renaissance)
  32. ^ Los Angeles Times September 12, 1996 Rewards Often Outweigh Risks in Producing a CD - Page 1
  33. ^ Los Angeles Times September 12, 1996 Rewards Often Outweigh Risks in Producing a CD - (Page 2 of 3)
  34. ^ ReverbNation Thee Rhythm Kings / Bio

External links[edit]