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  Coke Escovedo
 

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Click below for a Coke Escovedo sample:

Make It Sweet

  

cover

 
Thomas "Coke" Escovedo was a percussionist best known for being a part-time   member of Santana before making his name with a series of fusion records in the mid 1970s.

Born on April 30, 1941 in Los Angeles, Escovedo joined Santana in time for the Santana III album, which boasted the hit singles "Everything's Everything" and "No One to Depend On." When Carlos Santana reorganized the band in 1972, Escovedo formed Azteca with his brother Pete. Azteca was signed to Columbia, recorded two LPs in the early 70s, and toured with Stevie Wonder.

By 1975, Escovedo had signed to Mercury for his formal solo debut.   Joined by luminaries such as Harvey Mason, Linda Tillery and Gabor Szabo, Coke appealed to Latin, jazz and soul listeners and defined his sound for the rest of the decade.  Comin' At Ya continued in this vein, while Disco Fantasy was an unabashed party album intended to be his commercial breakthrough. 

With disappointing sales for all three LPs, Escovedo rejoined Santana in the late 70s and played with Herbie Hancock during his disco-funk phase.  In the 80s, he performed with his niece, Sheila E., on record and in concert.  He died on July 13, 1986 at the age of 45.  

Coke Escovedo's Deepest Grooves

Azteca - Azteca (Columbia, 1972)
One of the seminal records of Latin rock.  Includes "Can't Take the Funk Out of Me" and "Empty Prophet."  Deserves to be ranked alongside Malo and El Chicano among masterpieces of the genre.

Pyramid Of the Moon - Azteca (Columbia, 1973)

Coke (Mercury, 1975)
Classic soul fusion from the height of the jazz-funk era.  A monster lineup of talent includes Patrick Gleeson behind the boards and Harvey Mason on drums complementing Escovedo's percussion. Some of his best material is featured here, such as "Easy Come, Easy Go," "What Are You Under," and his only charting single, "Make It Sweet." Special mention goes to Linda Tillery, who sang on most of his vocal tracks.

Comin' at Ya (Mercury, 1976)
Essentially more of the same, but with perhaps more of a jazz emphasis due to the presence of Joe Henderson.  A very diverse LP with "Somebody's Watching You," "I Wouldn't Change A Thing," and "Breeze and I." 

Disco Fantasy (Mercury, 1976)
With Tillery's voice leading the way, Escovedo's band romps through underrated jams like "Hot Soul Single." 

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