Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Serrano, Jose Molina
Serrano, Jose Molina, guitarist, composer, bandleader, producer; b. Mazatlan, Mexico, 11 March 1948. His mother is Guillermina Serrano Maestre (b. 1928). His natural father is Erazmo Molina Martinez (dates unknown). His stepfather was Natividad Maestre Arce (b. 1911, d. 1974). He has two sisters, Maria Magdalena Maestre Serrano (b. 1957) and Guillermina Maestre de Herrera (b. 1961).
Serrano's family moved to border town of Tijuana, Baja California Mexico in 1957. At the early age of 13, began playing guitar inspired by next-door neighbor, Carlos Santana. In 1965 started professional career playing at Tijuana clubs, the Aloha Bar, Bum-Bum, Blue Note, and Tequila A Go-Go. Jose's only formal training was provided by friend and mentor, jazz guitarist Jaime Valle. 1966, moved to Mexico City. At this time, Jose's band, Los Latino, appeared on several Mexican TV shows and made a cameo appearance in Agent 00Sexy, an action film starring Fernando Lujan. December 1967, moves to Hollywood, California. Plays with Hayward Lee and Marauders backing such R&B acts as The Olympics, Thelma Houston, Joe Tex. Frequented all-night jam sessions attended by Ike & Tina Turner, Red Bone, Spiral Staircase. 1969 moves to Hartford, Connecticut to form Latin influenced band, Legend. Within three months received double billing with Poco, Ten W heel Drive, Humble Pie. Band relocated to Boston in 1970, playing as the back up band for John Lee Hooker and Bo Diddley while touring New England. During next two decades, Jose's music and travels brought him to Bay Area and then home to the San Diego/Tijuana area in 1987. In 1996, childhood friend Carlos Santana invited Jose to travel with him throughout South America and Caribbean as his personal assistant. During this tour, Jose was privileged to sit in with Carlos' band. A year later, Jose was once again honored to go on the road with Carlos in the same capacity. In 1999, Jose was invited to perform with Rusted Root, whom he met on tour with the Santana band, in San Diego and Las Vegas. Since 1997, Jose has been a strong presence in the San Diego area, performing at area clubs, in local concert series, and for charitable benefits. He was the guitarist for Jazz Pigs playing the Guinness Jazz Festival, Cork Ireland, 1995, Karlo-Vivary Jazz Festiva l, Czechoslovakia 1993 and the UCSD Jazz Festival, 1994 headlined by James Moody. He's been performing as "Jose Molina Serrano and Band" at clubs, in concert series, and for charitable benefits since 1997. He was the opening act for Diane Schuur, Humphrey's By the Bay, November, 2002. He played Carlsbad Jazz in the Park, Carlsbad, CA 2002 and Carlsbad Winter Jazz Series, Carlsbad, CA 2001, 2003.
He's married to art historian Malia Elizabeth Finnegan Serrano, b. Feb. 28, 1966.
Un Diablo con Vestido Azul (Devil with a Blue Dress On) (single, 1967); Only By Grace (2000); Various live recordings by Jim Merod of Blue Port Sound (1999 to 2002)
Television and radio broadcasts:
CD-release party covered by KUSI news; Performances on morning news shows KUSI, KNBC, 1999, 2000; KUSI news interview by Dave Scott, April, 2000; KSDS 88.3 interview for World Beat segment hosted by Damaja Lee, February, 2000; Vancouver Canada jazz station, 94.6 interviewed by Kal Coat, May 2000; KSDS 88.3 interview for Jazz at Night series hosted by Carlos Pena, November, 2002.
"Soul and Freshness (Alma y Frescura)," by Fernando Romero, pp. 19-21, May 19, 2000 in Enlace, Spanish language supplement of the San Diego Union Tribune.