Latin Breed Bio
THE LATIN BREED is a more than just a 40-year musical and cultural brand. To say the “Breed” is to evoke a firestorm of powerhouse musical talent that made the Tejano Orquesta a mainstay in the music industry that grew up alongside the Mexican American community in the Southwest during an era when Chicanismo and the assertion of cultural pride became a way of life and not just a fashion.
But before the movement—or the movimiento—as many prefer to call it, there was the Texas Mexican orchestra which took traditional Mexican boleros and rancheras and added full-blown arrangements for glittering horn sections, strings and a R & B rhythms and percussion. Following in the footsteps of Texas bred Little Joe & the Latinaires—which morphed into Little Joe y La Familia for the same reason that the Latin Breed was called the the Latin Breed—San Antonio’s “Breed” embraced the idea that Chicanos were mestizos who represented a Spanish and Indigenous identity that would no longer allow itself to be denied, ignored or belittled.
Emerging in San Antonio on the path already being forged on the Alamo City’s Southside by Sunny Ozuna & the Sunglows (later the Sunliners) and others with horn and organ laced, Spanish language music, the Latin Breed was first formed in 1969 by Sunliners musical director/sax player Rudy Guerra. Regrouping again in 1972, the band brought Jimmy Edward on as a front man. For the next decade, with a rotating cast of musicians and lead vocalists, including current lead singer, co-principal and songwriter Adalberto Gallegos who is a 1976 alumni, the Latin Breed set the gold standard and helped usher in what would become the template for Tejano music.
“It was music that was so spiritually driven that it really did capture a time, a place and a crusade. No one could have predicted that it would be a sound and a style of music that was destined to outlive us all,” says Gallegos, who cites founders Rudy Guerra and his brother Manny Guerra renowned GCP Records guru as the visionaries who created a musical entity that would inspire and excite a vast base of fans for over four decades.
“Before it was Tejano, it was Chicano music,” co-principal and sax player Charlie Rodriguez told San Antonio Express-News writer Hector Saldaña last year. “We’re Mexican-Americans. And the Chicano movement was everywhere.” By 1989, after a nine album legacy and a brief dormant period, and, the Latin Breed returned with a vengeance in 1989, scoring a new slew of hits while carrying on the vision and delivering the signature Latin Breed sound with ever growing musical precision and virtuosity. Releasing five CDs during that second wind season, the “Breed” touched a new generation with an enduringly unique repertoire delivered in the classic Latin Breed lexicon. It is a language born, says Adalberto, in that space where the music and the arrangements are equal to the power of the song.
This, says Adalberto, is the secret to the Latin Breed longevity. Alongside core original members Julian Carrillo on keyboards and Steve Velasquez on guitar, the “Breed” is bolstered by Stanley Revillas (Royal Jesters) on bass, Steve Solis (Jimmy Edward, Latin Breed) on drums, Fred Soto (Mexican Revolution) on sax, Steve Sanchez (Ruben Ramos) on trumpet, and Lee “Sparky” Thompson (Latin Breed) on trumpet. Already, the Latin Breed take on Solamente Una Vez, a single from the long awaited and soon to be released new album, has begun making it’s way into the band’s regular repertoire as they embark on this year’s “Unstoppable Tour.” A rich, tour-de-force that borrows just enough from the Breed’s storied past to delight long-time fans, it also marches triumphantly into new terrain with more recently and as yet unreleased material.
Recorded at Blue Cat Studios in San Antonio working with Grammy Award-winning sound engineer Joe Treviño, the new single is evidence of how truly timeless and unstoppable the “brown sound” pioneered by artists like the Latin Breed was and continues to be.