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Funded in part by a grant from TexTreasures and by the UT Arlington Library.

Gilbert Escobedo

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(66 pages)

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Gilbert Escobedo, nicknamed 'Gibby,' was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1947 and graduated from San Antonio's Burbank High School in 1965. He played saxophone with the Del Reys before he served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. After leaving military service, he played for Sunny and the Sunliners prior to starting up the musical group, Latin Breed, with Rudy Guerra. He ran his own booking agency, Texas Talent Musicians Association, and cofounded the Tejano Music Awards with Rudy Treviño.

Interview Summary:

Gilbert Escobedo begins with his start in the music business with Sunny & the Sunlighters [sic, Sunliners] and reveals the influence of big band music, jazz, and rhythm and blues. He talks about his parents meeting in Elmendorf, Texas, and about his growing up with both Mexican and American cultures in San Antonio. He describes his interactions with the gangs in his old southside San Antonio neighborhood and his early work with the musical group, the Del Reys. He relates his military service with the U.S. Air Force in Germany and his opportunity to play saxophone with the United Services Organization (USO). He shares his struggle to find work after leaving the military and discusses his offer to play for the Sunliners. He briefly describes the Sunliner's combining Conjunto and Norteño music styles favored by the group and elaborates on Sunny Ozuna's business decisions and the causes for the breakup of the Sunliners. He recalls the start up of the musical group, Latin Breed, with Rudy Guerra and defends the band's reasons for not hiring women. He discloses the intricacies of working as backup for female Tejana vocalist Lisa Lopez and explains his role as manager as well as musician for Latin Breed. He gives details on the band's finances, points out a number of the band's playing venues, and deplores the hazards and hardships of traveling with a band. He mentions Latin Breed's television appearances which included the variety show, 'Fanfarria Falcon,' and notes the extent of the band's tours across the United States following their fan base of Mexican American migrant agricultural laborers. He talks about the band's early recordings with Manny Guerra of Guerra Company Productions (GCP), and provides the circumstances surrounding the departure of Latin Breed's first vocalist, Jimmy Edwards. He discusses his reasons for getting off the road and acquiring his own booking agency, Texas Talent Musicians Association (TTMA), and bringing in Rudy Treviño as his partner. He details the selection process for the Tejano Music Awards and notes his brother, Cleto Escobedo (Jr.), was a musician for Paula Abdul.

Locations of residence or activity:

San Antonio

Interview Date: