Numero Group: By The Numbers


More Santana Than Santana : Meet Chepito
August 20, 2012, 3:58 pm
Filed under: Alfonso Lovo

“They used to call me Gene Krupa from Nicaragua!” Jose Chepito Areas exclaimed during a preliminary phone interview. As he careened through the streets of his adopted San Francisco, he quizzed several passersby: “Hey you know Santana? That’s me!” While notorious for replicating this exact interaction (several times daily, we’re told) his seemingly absurd statement it is not untrue. Areas was enlisted by Carlos Santana in the late ’60s to play timbales for his signed-but-undefined rock group, where he quickly rose through the ranks to the role of musical director. Chepito would go on to spend a decade flanking the indulgent guitarist, fusing the group’s rock compositions with patchwork polyrhythms from Latin America.

Despite individual talents and accomplishments, no member of Santana would ever successfully step out of the immense shadow cast by the group’s namesake frontman. This was perhaps the greatest injustice to Chepito, who did manage to prove his individual worth to attentive rock connoisseurs with 1974’s Jose “Chepito” Areas. Whether emboldened by his sturdy solo debut for CBS, or embittered by his stateside employer, when a childhood acquaintance named Alfonso Lovo suggested that Chepito come back to Nicaragua and track a record amongst their native country’s most musical, he booked a ticket for Managua.

The photo above is taken from the back cover of Chepito’s CBS debut. Alfonso Lovo’s Numero debut (available for pre-order here) will be available 9/25/2012.


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