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Pete La Roca

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Pete La Roca's decision to leave music in 1968 and become an attorney (under his original name of Pete Sims) cut short a productive career. He started his career playing timbales in Latin bands, changing his name to Pete La Roca at the time. He played drums with Sonny Rollins (1957-1959) and had associations with Jackie McLean, Slide Hampton, the John Coltrane Quartet (where he was the original drummer in 1960), and Marian McPartland. La Roca led his own group (1961-1962), was the house drummer at the Jazz Workshop in Boston (1963-1964), and worked with Art Farmer (1964-1965), Freddie Hubbard, Mose Allison, Charles Lloyd (1966), Paul Bley, and Steve Kuhn, among others. He led two impressive albums: the classic Blue Note record Basra with Joe Henderson and Bliss!, a Douglas session (reissued on Muse) featuring Chick Corea and John Gilmore. La Roca started playing jazz again in 1979. He died in November 2012 at age 74 after battling lung cancer. ~ Scott Yanow

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Birth Name:

Peter Sims


07 April 1938 in New York, NY

Years Active:

'50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s