Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction...and sometimes it's hard to tell which is which. Such is the case with the story of the Tito Lopez Combo. Frontman Lopez boasts a colorful and even extraordinary past, very little of which can be corroborated by reliable sources. His official bio lists a whole laundry list of accomplishments, the most impressive being his role as El Pongo in The Good, the Bad & the Ugly. Strangely, though, the cast list does not include his name. Lopez himself cannot comment -- he was killed in an auto accident in 2000.
Whatever the case may be, Lopez's skill as a musician is undeniable, as is the skill of the other, less mysterious members of the band. Drummer Harbans Srih is a pioneer of the acid jazz movement and a regular player on Acid Jazz Records albums, especially as part of the James Taylor Quartet. He has also been featured on less progressive, more ambient jazz albums: As a member of the jazz quartet the Other Side, he released Dangerous Days in 1994. Saxophonist Theo Travis has been featured on dozens of albums and has released several solo works, including Heart of the Sun. The album also features some guest appearances by members of funk/soul/R&B group the Brand New Heavies, as well as some by other artists signed to the Acid Jazz label.
Critics and music fans alike love the funky/breaksy/bluesy old-school stylings of the Tito Lopez Combo. The group's debut album, Tito Rides In, garnered quite a bit of attention on the U.K. jazz scene, not too much of which was based around the mysterious trombone-playing frontman. Apparently, in spite of the untimely demise of Lopez, the Combo, now under the leadership of Srih, plans to release another album very soon with material recorded in the studio sessions (1997-1999).