Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Revueltas, Olivia (Olivia Revueltas Peralta)

Revueltas, Olivia [Olivia Revueltas Peralta], pianist, arranger and composer; b. Mexico City, Mexico, 17 July 1951. Her father was Jose Revueltas Sanchez, a writer. He was born in the city of Durango, Mexico on November 20, 1914 and died in Mexico City, April 14, 1976. Her mother is Olivia Peralta Torres, a Professor of History and Literature. She was born in the city of Toluca, Mexico on February 1, 1917 and died in Oaxca, Mexico on April 25, 2003.  Her siblings are Andrea Revueltas de Cheron, a doctor in Philosophy, born September 19, 1938, Fermin Revueltas Peralta, an engineer-architect, born April 1, 1941, and Pablo Jose Revueltas Peralta, a veterinarian, born August 30, 1945. She has a half-brother, Roman Revueltas Retes, a violinist, born in 1952 in Mexico City, and a half-sister, Moura Revueltas Aguero, a medical doctor, born in 1961 in Havana, Cuba. Olivia's maiden name is Olivia Revueltas Peralta and her current name is Olivia Revueltas.
Olivia Revueltas is her professional name. Her children are Vina Leal Revueltas, a therapist born November 27, 1968, Kayani Leal Revueltas, a writer born June 4, 1971 and Julio David Leal Revueltas, a musician, guitar player and composer, born April 28, 1973.   His professional name is Julio Revueltas. Her grandchildren are Sebastian Casales Leal, born July 7, 1992, Ana Isabel Castellanos Leal, born February 4, 1997, and Jose Oliveiro Cervantez Leal, born December 16, 2003.

Revueltas was born into a family whose passion for the arts is known throughout the world. Her uncle is the great classical composer, Silvestre Revueltas, known worldwide for his powerful orchestral compositions. Silvestre's brother, Jose Revueltas, writer, philosopher, novelist, political ideologist and poet, is regarded as one of the most important intellectuals of Mexico. Olivia's aunt, Rosaura Revueltas, was an actress that as main character in the movie "Salt of the Earth" was blacklisted in the McCarthy era. Fermin Revueltas, a painter who participate in the art movement "Los Muralistas" in Mexico with Diego Rivera, Orozco, Siqueiros, but died very young at the age of 30, but his murals can be appreciated in the University of San Ildefonso in Mexico City. As you can imagine, these three artists went against the norm and challenged their constituency with their work. Olivia, Jose's daughter, simply inherited the passionate commitment. Think about it for a moment. Olivia Revueltas, a rebellious self-taught musician, went completely against the norm and became one of Mexico's premiere jazz performers, despite the fact that she was a Latin American woman jazz instrumentalist in a predominantly male field--not an easy road to travel. Olivia was beginning studies at the Conservatorio Nacional de Musica when, literally, jazz crossed her way. One day while walking back home from the Conservatorio, she heard a rehearsal of powerful music from a jazz club in La Zona Rosa...and exploded with excitement. She got in and asked the musicians "What are you playing?" They answered: "Jazz!" It was the turning point in her life. Since that moment she knew jazz was going to be her life's work. Unfortunately, the realization of Olivia's aspirations was obstructed; her mother was so devastated by Olivia's decision that she placed Olivia in a boarding school to remove her from the "sinful" world of jazz. It was years later, at the age of 23, and having give birth to three beautiful children (Vina, Kayani and Julio) that Olivia seriously set her hands on the piano again and started teaching herself to play jazz, by closely listening -in the middle of her house-wife-mother chores- to recordings by Coltrane, Horace Silver, Mingus, Miles Davis, Oliver Nelson, whose music and spirit had a profound influence on her fractured musical development. Olivia's group, "Naima", rose to the top with performances at all of the major Mexican universities as well as at Sala Netzahualcoyotl and Sala Manuel M. Ponce of the Palacio Nacional de Bellas Artes. Her years at "Casa del Lago" (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) where she conducted and organized a weekly jazz events during 7 uninterrupted years, her daily performances of 5 years at "El Chato Jazz Club" and the New Orleans Jazz Restaurant of Mexico City made history.

In 1988 Olivia moved to the United States and settled in San Antonio, Texas. She had to wait 5 years without playing to get her permission to work and her permanent residence established. Once her papers were ready, she started playing again (from 1994) at the most important Museums of San Antonio as well Trinity University and UTSA. She rose to the top again. In 1999 the San Antonio Express-News named Olivia Revueltas as one of the most influential artist of that city. Olivia became an American Citizen, August 24th, 2000.

 Recordings:
'Round Midnight in L.A. (1998); Angel of Scissors (1998); Julio Revueltas: El Alma (2004)

Bibliography:
Olivia Revueltas is mentioned several times in two books published in Mexico:
"Datos Para Una Historia Aun No Escrita", Una Aproximacion Al Jazz En Mexico 1994 By Alain Derbez Editorial Ponciano Arriaga
"El Jazz En Mexico" Datos Para Una Historia-2001 By Alain Derbez Editorial Fondo de Cultura Economica.
"Olivia Revueltas" 2000 By: Sergio Monsalvo Editorial Doble A-Serie JAZZ/4
"Soulful Spirit, Jazz Pianist Performs With Huge Human Soul" "San Antonio Express News" October 1, 1997 By Elda Silva.
"Jazz Hot" of France "Chroniques Mexicaines by Patrick Dalmace Month of June-2004

Websites:
www.revueltas.iuma.com
www.cdbaby.com/cd/revueltas
www.cdbaby.com/cd/revueltas2

Contact information:
Olivia Revueltas
Manager: William R. Simcock
(210) 492-2895
olivia@revueltas.com

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