Paul Lopez






PAUL LOPEZ was born in 1923 and raised in Los Angeles. He attended Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles. Paul listened to all the big bands, especially the Count Basie and Jimmy Lunceford bands. He studied trumpet with Doc Hiner and Louis Maggio. Another influence in Paul's life was the late, great, Bunny Berigan. Paul studied in Los Angeles, at Julliard in New York, and at Pablo Casals Conservatory in Puerto Rico. He also studied film scoring with Earl Hagen, Spud Murphy and Albert Harris.

However, according to Paul, his most exciting and greatest experience was when he left Los Angeles for Chicago with Freddie Slack's Orchestra in 1948 and from there went on to play in the "Big Apple." It was in New York that Paul Lopez got to play with many of the great Latin and Jazz bands, including Boyd Raeburn, Elliot Lawrence, Noro Morales, Machito, Tito Rodriguez, and the amazing Tito Puente. Paul was on the road with the great Miguelito Valdes and his Orchestra from 1950 through 1952. In late 1952, he played at Birdland, a jazz club made famous by Charlie Parker, with pianist Billy Taylor, bassist Curley Russel, tenor saxophonist Phil Urso and the great drummer Max Roach.

When it comes to interpreting authentic Latin Jazz with its phrasing and articulation, Mr. Paul Lopez is a master. He has taught and conducted seminars on Latin Arranging at the Dick Grove School of Music in Van Nuys CA. More recently, Paul taught and instructed the Studio Jazz Ensemble class at Pasadena City College in Pasadena CA.

Paul has also played studio and movie recording dates, one of which was the sound track for the film "Alamo." Paul's early arranging was influenced by George Handy and Ralph Burns. Paul has arranged for all of the Latin bands of which he was a member. Indeed, it would not be an overstatement to say that there are very few Latin bands that do not have arrangements by Paul Lopez in their repertoire. In addition, Paul performed on eight albums for Jack Costanzo and four albums for Rene Bloch during the years 1957 through 1961.

During the years 1962 through 1964, Paul led his own Mambo band which he called The Paul Lopez Orchestra. During these two and a half years, Paul's band performed in numerous night clubs in and around the Los Angeles area, a couple of them being the famous Virginia's Club and the California Club.

His one year stint in Puerto Rico during 1964 and 1965 was mostly occupied with composing and arranging for radio station WNEL in San Juan. Other assignments have been composing and arranging for Hollywood recording studios, Las Vegas show acts, Lee Magid Productions, Marlena Shaw, O.C. Smith, some arrangements of which were performed on the Joey Bishop and Merv Griffin shows. During the 1950s, Paul played practically all the show acts in Las Vegas as a member of both house and relief bands.

In the 80s and 90s, Paul co-led the HMA Salsa/Jazz Orchestra with Grammy nominee, Bobby Rodriguez. They recorded two CDs, "California Salsa I" and "California Salsa II," for which Paul was the primary arranger, composer and orchestrator. At present, Paul keeps busy with his band and continues to explore new avenues in composing and arranging.