Joe Loco

Born Jose Esteves in New York City, 1921, "Crazy Joe" abandoned childhood violin for concentration on dance; at thirteen years he was performing professionally. After dancing on the vaudeville circuit he hit the books and studied music. Before piano and composition won out, he tried and became adept at many playing instruments, including a trombone stint for the New York Amateur Symphony. By age seventeen he had joined Ciro Rimac's Brazilian Band, and in 1942 was with the "Original Afro-Cuban Band."

Joe is credited with introducing both the mambo (his first hit, "Tenderly," in 1951 for Tico) and cha cha cha (1953) to the United States. His style, a sublime blend of pop melody, Latin rhythm, and jazz improvisation, relied on the simple beauties of conga, vibes, and piano. (His original trio included Sabu Martínez.) His early adaptations of pop tunes to Latin were among the most tasteful and successful, thanks to excellent recording and strong supporting musicians. Nearly all of the Joe Loco Quintet's records adhere to this basic, "cocktail" style. Loco remained true to the format while Tito Puente, whose early work on Tico was similar, moved on to other sounds. A pioneer of subtle, modern Latin jazz, Joe Loco set the standard for all Latin piano-vibes combos to follow.

Joe Loco 10" LPs

The Swingingest Latin Pianist in the World; [label unknown]
Concerto for Percussion; SMC Pro-Arte SMC-100 (conducts the Cuban orchestra of Julio Andino)
7Mambos, Vol. 1; Tico LP-109 (these volumes feature Pete Terrace)
6Mambos, Vol. 2; Tico LP-111 (2 on LP 1008, 6 on 1012)
Mambos, Vol. 3; Tico LP-121
Mambos, Vol. 4; Tico LP-122
6Joe Loco, His Piano & Trio: Mambo Dance Favorites (Vol. 5); Tico LP-123
Mambo USA; Tico LP-129; 1954
7Joe Loco & his Quintet: Instrumental Mambos; Tico LP-132 (Why Don't You Do Right, Kismet, There'll be Some Changes Made, I Only Have Eyes for You, Gee, Sadie Thompson Song, El Baion, The Nearness of You)

Joe Loco 12" LPs

7Mambo Moods; Tico LP-1006 (Goin' Loco; Tico LP-1006)
7Make Mine Mambo [and Cha Cha Cha]; Tico LP-1008
7Mambo Fantasy; Tico LP-1012 (Bravo Loco; Tico LP-1012)
7Viva Mambo; Tico LP-1013
Invitation to the Mambo; Fantasy F-3215
Cha Cha Cha; Fantasy F-3277/F-8022
Olé; Fantasy F-8028
6Latin Jewels; Fantasy F-8041
6Going Loco; Fantasy F-8042
The Best of Joe Loco; Fantasy F-8048 (compilation)
4Joe Loco & his Pachanga Band: Dance!; Liberty/Sunset SUS-5133
7Loco Motion; Columbia CL-760
7Vaya! with Joe Loco; Columbia CL-827
5Bailamos con Joe Loco--Su Piano y Ritmo; Seeco/Tropical TRLP-5031 (jacket art by Don Miller of Grand Award fame)
7Poco Loco with Joe Loco his Piano & Rhythm; GNP Crescendo GNP-64 (partly Latin jazz)
8Let's Go Loco; Imperial LP-12014 (Latin jazz)
7Happy-Go-Loco; Imperial LP-12019 (Latin jazz)
7Joe Loco, his Piano and Rhythm: Play for Dancing--The Music of Rafael Hernandez & Augustin Lara; Ansonia ALP-1221
7Joe Loco, sus Dedos Maravillosos, su Piano y sy Quinteto Interpretan Compositores Mexicanos; Dimsa DML-8132
8Joe Loco: Puerto Rico '68; Liberty/Sunset SUS-5219; 1968 (mod Latin soul/Latin jazz)

Partly Joe Loco LPs

7Xavier Cugat: Anyone Can Cha Cha; CBS/Epic LN 3338
6Various: Latin Spectacular--Starring Tito Puente; Guest Star GS-1407 (Alfredito, Puente, Machito, Joe Loco "Gee", Tito Rodriguez, Martino Savanto)
7Various: Mambo Caravan; Tico LP-1007 (Joe Loco, Machito, Tito Puente)
6Various: Tico Selector (Tico Gallery); Tico TS-1
6Various: Tito Puente; Embajador E-6006

Joe Loco 45s & EPs

[Tico EPs 4-5]
7Joe Loco, his Piano & Trio; Tico EP 6 (Blue Moon, Talk of the Town, Blue Note Mambo, Hong Kong Local)
[Tico EPs 9,10,13,21,27..]
6Tico EP 39 (The High & the Mighty, In the Mood, Honey Suckle Rose, Skokiaan)
7Joe Loco: Teenagers' Wail/Invitation; Columbia 4-40590 (beatnik-y A-side)
7Joe Loco: Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer/White Christmas; Columbia 4-40590
7Merry Christmas from Joe Loco EP; Columbia B-2078 (White Christmas/Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer/Winter Wonderland/Jungle Bells)

Hyp Records is a 3-part guide:

Shop Hip Wax

Some items above may be available at
Hip Wax

Hyp Records Guide © 1996 Hip Wax