On July 13, 1935, in Pittsburg, California, Pete Escovedo came into the world, adding to an already packed household filled with six other children. Although money was tight, family vacations almost non-existent, and America was still reeling from the stranglehold of the Great Depression and the onslaught of World War II, the Escovedos showered unconditional love and nearly nonstop music onto the heads of their children. Musicians were always at the house singing songs that went on well into the night. In high school Pete discovered his love for bongo playing. Unfortunately, his family couldn’t afford a set of bongos, so the young man (resorting to MacGyver-like tactics) crafted his own set out of duct tape and old coffee cans. A few hours and a few cans of spray paint later, Pete Escovedo was a bona-fide bonguero.
In 1956 Escovedo married his high school sweetheart. They had four children eventually, the oldest being Sheila Escovedo (aka Sheila E.). In 1960 brothers Coke and Phil joined up with Pete to form The Escovedo Brothers Sextet. The band would play at many jazz and Latin clubs throughout The Bay Area. Although they gained a strong local following, it wasn’t until 1972 that Pete and his brother Coke would be introduced to the world on a large scale. It was in that year that guitarist Carlos Santana asked the brothers to join his band.
The Escovedo brothers stayed with Santana for three years and played on some of Santana’s most highly regarded albums. However, the want of doing his own thing was too strong an impulse, leasing to an inevitable solo career. Since 1976 Escovedo has recorded and toured with the likes of Chick Corea, Stephen Stills, Al Jarreau, Prince, Barry White, Poncho Sanchez, Tito Puente, and his daughter, Sheila E.