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Date or Sequence
Narrative including Bands &
Personnel and Musical Influences

A nice 70th birthday! But later today, I received the bad news that both Mike Pacheco and Francisco Aguabella had passed away...not really a nice birthday frowney face


I am just about ready to admit to myself that my music playing days are over. The arthritis in my hands and especially my thumbs constantly hurt so much that I doubt I can play bongos, congas maybe, and I am not sure about holding sticks. Only time will tell.


Received a call from his daughter, Ted Rivera passed away last night. Ted was the co-leader and singer of Sonora Marianao. He was one of my best friends since we first met back in the 1960s.


I still belong to and read the posts of There was an ongoing discussion regarding  Armando Peraza so I posted how he had influenced me and here along with my original post is his response:

From: Armando Peraza .... (email address removed)

Sent: Sunday, February 20, 2011 1:25 PM


Subject: Re: Armando's influences - Re: [latinjazz] Re: George Shearing has died at 91

Thanks Dennis.  Yes, I remember those times sitting in with you but I wanted to hear what you had to say on congas, which is the reason why I would only play bongo.

Glad you stayed with the congas and learned on your own.  Hope to see you again one of these days, either down in your neck of the woods or up here.

Take care,


In a message dated 2/18/2011 12:16:24 P.M. Pacific Standard Time, writes:


In 1959, you and Tjader were a determining factor on my decision to go UC Berkeley so I could be in the Bay Area near to where you played...and within a year I began to play congas professionally.

I remember when, in the early 1960s, you used to sit in with us (Los Locos del Ritmo and later with Guy Hoffman's Latins with our mutual friend the late/great Carlos Federico on piano) at Lucky Pierre's and, still later, when I played briefly with Benny Velarde at the Copacabana...all on Broadway in San Francisco. I have wondered over the years why you never sat in on congas and only played bongos. Maybe so as to not embarrass the just-learning-to-play conga player (me)?

Carlos helped set up a dinner at my house in Berkeley, just you and me! We listened to some Latin, some jazz, some rock and some classical music. We talked about music and other things while my congas just sat in the corner. I did not ask you any specific questions regarding playing because you were a guest in my house. To this day, I sometimes regret not asking some conga playing questions!

You and Carlos were the main influences on my basically self-taught conga playing and, later, timbales, bongos, and drum, by your style and taste, and Carlos, simply by his playing.

Neither of you ever gave me instructions/corrections but you both inspired me to play the best I could at all times. And over the years, your admonition to me to "just play to the music" was always the guiding principle.

Back in 1992, when Matthew said you did not have copies of the tunes, I was most pleased to send you copies of the tracks Artistry in Rhythm and Triste from the album More Drums on Fire:

[for those you you not familiar with these tunes:]

Artistry in Rhythm


And you called to thank me, we talked for about 1/2 hour about music! I sure wish I could get up to the Bay Area again so we might meet for lunch or dinner and talk some more!

With greatest admiration and appreciation always,

Dennis M Reed "Califa"

2012/05/07 Hard to believe...I turned 72 today.

2012/05/08: Mary took me to Kai Sushi for a birthday dinner. She had the Sesame Chicken Bento and I had Chirashi-zushi, as usual. We also had "fish tacos" (salsa on top of fried fish pieces). Andy, the owner, said to come back tomorrow for a birthday celebration.

2012/05/09: Andy (he no longer does much behind the sushi counter) made me a special chirashi-zushi and gave me a Korean sake in which had been soaked with ginseng. He also gave me a set of chopsticks.
2012/07/30 I talked with Ray Galindo after many years.
2012/08/07 Following up on a lead by Ray, I attended a rehearsal tonight (leader, piano: Henry Aponte). I played drums and bongos. WOW...I AM OUT OF SHAPE! But I guess I kept good enough time and was invited back for more rehearsals with this band.

2012/09/17: No further contact, so I guess they were just being polite. BUT this is OK, because of health problems, I cannot seem to get my chops back. Maybe if I get better health wise, I might try to get my chops back.
2013/02/06 Beginning CHANTIX smoking cessation plan again.
Failed to complete...will try again someday.
2014/05/09 Had a long phone conversation with Marty Olachea! Looking for to having lunch when he visits San Diego, maybe in July!
2014/12/12 My brother Richard passed away at about 07:30 pm.

2014/12/12 Richard memorial service
2016/05/07 I a very nice 76th birthday lunch with my cousin Elizabeth and her husband at Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot.
2016/??/?? Mom passed away at about 01:15 pm. She passed away peacefully with no pain.
2018/01/30 Mary passed away at 11:50 am. She passed away peacefully with no pain.
2018/05/07 My 78th birthday ... Jimmy and Cookie were here to help celebrate.