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Bobby Montez, 67; West Coast Latin Jazz Pioneer in '50s, '60s

January 25, 2003|From Staff and Wire Reports

Bobby Montez, 67, a West Coast Latin jazz pioneer of the 1950s and early '60s, died Jan. 8 at an assisted living facility in Chico, Calif. Cause of death was liver failure.

Born in Sonora, Ariz., Montez grew up in a musical family and learned to play many instruments, but he mastered the piano, bass and vibraphone.

He was working as an accountant in Los Angeles when he formed his own band and played at clubs such as the Crescendo, Melody Room and Latin Quarter.

He was signed to a recording contract in the late 1950s by a small label named Jubilee. He later recorded for the World Pacific label.

His albums included "Jungle Fantastique," "Hollywood Themes in Cha Cha Cha," "Gigi and My Fair Lady in Latin," and "Viva Montez."

He played in local clubs until the late 1960s. After leaving the music business, he developed a career as a successful landscape designer.

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