El Chicano was formed in Los Angeles in 1970 and was characterized by its long jams, full of fiery guitar work, spectacular electric organ improvisations and percussion solos. “In the Eye of the Storm” is a two DVD documentary directed by David E. Meza that follows the evolution of El Chicano. The second DVD presents the latest version of the band with a May 2008 performance at The Avalon club in Santa Clara.
The documentary combines interviews with the musicians with footage from the era about the reaction of mainstream America to the rising militancy and importance of the Chicano movement. The band in 2008 included several founding members. Line-up in 2008: Mickey Lespron on guitar, Bobby Espinosa on organ and piano, Fred Sanchez on bass, John de Luna on drums, Rudy Regalado on timbales, Jerry Salas on vocals and guitar, and Marcos Reyes on congas.
Azteca’s La Piedra del Sol showcases another Latin rock legend. While El Chicano featured primarily Mexican-American musicians from southern California, Azteca was a short-lived multiracial supergroup from northern California led by Coke and Pete Escovedo, who came from the Santana group. The large band (up to 25 musicians on stage) was based in the San Francisco Bay Area and combined rock, jazz, soul and Latin musicians.
The Azteca documentary includes interviews as well as a reunion concert at the Key Club in Hollywood in 2007. The artists featured in the reunion concert include original members Pete Escovedo, vocalists Wendy Haas and Errol Knowles, bassist Paul Jackson, guitarist Bill Courtial, percussionist Victor Pantoja, trombonist Jules Rowell and former Miles Davis and Chick Corea drummer Lenny White.
Buy the DVDs:
- In North America: In the Eye of the Storm by El Chicano and La Piedra del Sol by Azteca
- In Europe: In The Eye Of The Storm by El Chicano and La Piedra Del Sol by Azteca
Recordings by 1970s Latin rock bands:
- In North America: 20th Century Masters – Millennium Collection: The Best of El Chicano, This is El Chicano, Painting the Moment, Malo, From the Ruins, Abraxas, Santana, Santana III, Caravanserai
- In Europe: 20th Century Masters – Millennium Collection: The Best of el Chicano, Chicano Chant, This Is…El Chicano, Malo, From the Ruins, Santana, Caravanserai, Santana III, Abraxas
Recordings by current artists who follow the path of the 1970s pioneers
- In North America: Aguilas and Cobras and Homenaje by Brownout;
- In Europe: Aguilas and Cobras and Homenage by Brownout
Author: Angel Romero
Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.