La Piedra del Sol

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Director Daniel E. Meza's two-hour documentary film La Piedra del Sol chronicles a reunion by the Latin jazz-rock fusion band Azteca for a concert at the Key Club in Hollywood, CA, marking their first re-formation in more than 30 years. A spinoff from Santana founded in 1972, Azteca, at times numbering as many as 17 musicians, made two albums for Columbia Records before disbanding in 1976. Percussionist/singer Coke Escovedo, who founded the group with his brother Pete Escovedo, died in 1986, but Pete Escovedo is the motivating force in the reunion, which includes many of the original musicians, among them drummer Lenny White. They submit to interviews as well as being filmed in rehearsal and at the show, which occurred on September 15, 2007. Memories are bittersweet for an ensemble that showed considerable promise, but was done in, according to various accounts, by its unwieldy size, its members' drug use (particularly Coke Escovedo), or, as trombonist Jules Rowell puts it, its simple failure to come up with a hit record. The generous excerpts from the concert attest to the band's musical prowess, and the show builds up to a fiery finale when Escovedo brings up his children, including Sheila E. (herself a member of Azteca in its waning days) to pound his timbales. (The DVD also includes an additional 45 minutes of unused footage from the film.)

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