Pete Escovedo celebrates birthday with Yoshi's show


"Music keeps you young and them playing with the family is the best thing ever," Escovedo said. "I got a lot of birthday cards and e-mails from people in Germany, Netherlands, Japan; we've made a lot of friends traveling all these years, you know."

Escovedo grew up in west Oakland and was inspired by Cuban and New York Latin music. He learned from them.

Escovedo is considered to be one of the architects of Bay Area Latin jazz. He played in clubs he owned.

Escovedo is a big advocate for music education in schools. His kids were exposed to the music from an early age.

"They would learn, absorb, take everything like a sponge," he said.

It is no surprise then that they have joined him on this birthday tour.

"It's really been a great journey, the fact that the kids are carrying on the tradition is really amazing," Escovedo said.

Escovedo says his biggest thrill has been playing the White House for a Hispanic heritage concert with daughter Sheila, meeting and performing for the first family.

Inevitably one has to ask if he will ever retire. But his children put that to rest.

"They won't let me; the kids say, 'You gotta keep playing, if you don't, what are you going to do,'" Escovedo said.

Escovedo and his family are playing Yoshi's in Oakland Thursday through Sunday.

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