Jazz pioneer Bobby Montez dies

Bobby Montez, a West Coast Latin jazz pioneer of the 1950s and early ’60s, died January 8, 2003, the cause of death being liver failure, at the age of 67. Born in Sonora, Arizona, 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.