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Biography

The Chico Band has entertained and performed at many functions for the past thirty five years and captivated diverse audiences throughout the state of California. The success of the band can be attributed to its versatility, exceptional talent and the harmony of it's members.

Chico is an exclusive band that has its own style. The "Chico Repertoire" consists of music from all eras that everyone can dance to and appreciate. Their musical talents make it possible for the Chico Band to masterfully perform music from soft ballads to hard driving rock 'n roll. They specialize in big band music, salsa, cha-cha, merengue, cumbias, Tex Mex, oldies and rock.

Chico has performed at concerts, community events, church and for civic organizations. The band has received recognition for its performances for charitable organizations such as The American Red Cross, The March of Dimes and The City of Long Beach Senior Citizens. In addition, Chico has performed for the Hispanic Women's Council, Loyola Marymount University, USC Alumni Association, Strawberry Festival, L.A. Times Awards Convention, Latin Business Association, The Chicano Music Awards, Cacique Cheese, and the Los Angeles County Hispanics Managers Association. Chico has performed for the after Mariachi Festival Concert dance in Tucson, Arizona. They have also performed with James Olmos and Vicky Carr, and were commissioned to compose and perform the music and soundtrack for the movie "Luminarias".

A veteran group of professional musicians headed by bassist Joe Espinosa, CHICO has been together and entertaining for over 35 years. Along with Adolfo Martinez on saxophone, Bertha Oropeza on vocals & percussion, Danny Diaz on guitar, Gilbert Avila on trumpet & congas, and Bill Keis on keyboards, CHICO easily displayed their outstanding talent & versatility, deftly going thru changes in Disco, Oldies, Cumbias, Salsa, Funk, Tex-Mex, Rock n Roll, and Swing, much to the loud appreciation of the crowd who filled the dance floor till closing time.

 
Joe Espinosa – Bass and Vocals

The leader of Chico for over 35 years, he has played with the Village Callers in the late 60’s and co-wrote the hit “Hector”. Joe's musical training has been varied. He has been studying privately for the last ten years. He indicates that the most rewarding moments with Chico have been performing for George Lopez and performing at the premiere for the movie "Luminaries". Joe holds a B.S. degree and is currently a consultant for the County of Los Angeles and a real estate professional.
   

Bertha Oropeza - Lead Vocals and Percussion

Bertha has been with Chico since 1995. She is an accomplished vocalist with credits in the original cast of Zoot Suit. She has been honored for her music accomlishments by Salesian Alumni Association. She a UCLA graduate and currently a Nurse Practioner.


 

Adolfo Martinez "Fuzzy" - Alto, Tenor and Sporano Sax, Flute, Clarinet and Vocals

Fuzzy has been in the business over 40 years and has been a member of Chico for 29 years. He previously performed with the Village Caller, Poverty Train, Fiesta, Willie Bobo and Santurse. His favorite artists are Charlie Parker, John Coltrane and Gan Lombo. Fuzzy has a B.A. in Music and M.A. in Music Education.

 

   

Danny Diaz - Guitar and Vocals

Danny has been with Chico for over 30 years. His favorite music is the blues. He has performed and toured with many local groups.

 

 

   

Gilbert Avila "Papo" - Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Congas and Vocals.

Gil has been in the business since the age of 16. He has performed over the years with The Sportmen Orchestra, Pico Rivera Stage Band, Chuck Freeman & the Drivers and Friends & Bros Band. He has been a member of Chico for 31 years. He started studying music at the age of 9. His favorite artists are Louis Armstrong, Maynard Furgeson and Louie Prima.

 

Bill Keis aka Guillermo Llaves - Keyboards

Bill has been in the music business since 1972. He joined Chico in the year 2000. His extensive music education includes having attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston and he now has a successful "Private Teaching Practice" with student ranging from age 5 to 70.

Bill has played with the Pointer Sisters, Chaka Khan, Edgar Winter and Maxine Nightingale as well a numberous other local bands. Bill also has his own jazz quartet that has been playing around Southern California since 1992. He released his debut CD called Journey in 1999 (see Bill's website @ www.billkeis.com).

His favorite artist are Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Santana, Stevie Wonder and Eddie Palmieri. Bill's most humourous "Chico Momemt" is at a gig when Danny was trying to push an amp up a hill and struggled to keep it from rolling back down.

View Chico on the You Tube Chico Band Official Channel!

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