[JPL] Don Tosti, 81, 'Pachuco' Musician, Is Dead

r durfee rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 8 23:20:06 EDT 2004

Don Tosti, 81, 'Pachuco' Musician, Is Dead

August 9, 2004

PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Aug. 8 - Don Tosti, a musician and
composer who blended elements of jazz, boogie and blues to
create the Latin "Pachuco" sound of the 1940's zoot suit
culture, died on Monday at his home here. He was 81. 

He had been told in May that he had advanced prostate
cancer, his sister, Marylin Martinez Wood, said. 

Mr. Tosti began playing music as a boy and forged a career
that spanned several decades and styles, among them
classical, jazz and rhythm and blues. He was best
remembered for works like "Pachuco Boogie," recorded in
1948. It was the first million-selling Latin song. 

The Pachuco sound gave rhythm to an emerging
Mexican-American youth culture inspired by the zoot suit

Arhoolie Productions released a compilation of his work in

Mr. Tosti, whose original name was Edmundo Martínez
Tostado, was born in El Paso and by 9 was playing violin in
the town's symphony orchestra. In Los Angeles a few years
later, he switched to the upright bass and began studying

When he was 19 the jazz trombonist Jack Teagarden offered
him a job with his orchestra, and Mr. Tosti hit the road.
He went on to play with some of the major swing bandleaders
of the post-World War II era, including Jimmy Dorsey,
Charlie Barnett and Les Brown. 

He later concentrated on writing and performing his own
material and formed his own band, the Pachuco Boogie Boys.
In the 1960's he moved to Palm Springs and became an
orchestra leader at various hotels. 

In recent years he gave piano lessons and was a highly
valued session musician. 

Roy Durfee
P.O. Box 40219
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87196-0219
rdurfee2003 at yahoo.com
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