Nilo Espinoza' s Bossa 70
Brazilian music in Peru in the 60's

Bossa 70 was the brainchild of Nilo Espinoza, a Peruvian musician with a Brazilian heart. Nilo, a classically trained musician, was the top flute player in Peru in 1960. In 1961 he was honored with a scholarship to Austria to study advance classes of his instrument as well as other kinds of wind instruments. He lived in Europe for five years. It was during that time that he developed a profound attraction for all forms of the jazz language.

When he returned to Peru, in 1966, Nilo approached the best musicians he could find to form a group to play jazz and Bossa-nova, the new music craze from Brazil.

Very soon they found out there were not too many followers for their preferred musical styles. The group decided to play popular dance music on a part time basis so everyone in the band could make a living. The band had Nilo Espinoza, on the tenor sax and flute, Alfredo Ginoccio, playing trumpet and slide trombone, Otto de Rojas, at the piano and organ, Enrique Suescum, on electric and acoustic bass and Tito Cruz on drums. They named the group Los Hilton's, because they got a gig as the house band on the best International Hotel in Lima, Peru, called "Hilton".

They had several singers during the time they played at the Hilton. This was their mayor weakness, since it was hard to find a singer that could feel comfortable singing jazz and Bossa-nova as well as popular music.

In 1967 they recorded an long-play under the name Los Hilton's, which became extremely rare, since the Peruvian record label printed only 200 copies. The tracks on the album are a compilation of original compositions with some popular songs, played in The Hilton' s style.

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Nilo Espinoza cookin' at the Hilton

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Los Hilton's (1967)

In 1968 the group got busy giving concerts of jazz and Bossa nova. They decided to changed their name to Bossa 70, to reflect the musical style they were going to offer, specially after their main singer was replaced by Carmen Rosa Basurco. Carmen Rosa was a beautiful black woman that could sing in English, Portuguese and Spanish, and, also, had an electrifying personality with good control of audiences.

As a mean to promote their new name the group recorded a mini-lp with four fantastic songs. 100 copies were pressed and giving as a prize during the concerts and to personal friends and family.

In 1970, to commemorate the anniversary of the band, they recorded a long-play for Phillips, represented by El Virrey in Peru. The label pressed 300 copies that were sold quickly. It contains the songs Berimbao, Me quedo con el Shing-a-ling, Get out of my way, etc... True Bossa-nova, Latin jazz and funk. It is worth to mention that Enrique "Pico" Ego Aguirre, leader of Los Shain' s and Pax, was the lead guitar player during this session.

In 1972 the members followed their own musical paths. Nilo Espinoza formed a new version of Bossa 70 and called it : Nil' s Jazz Ensemble. This band went to record the only jazz funk lp from Peru (MAG-LPN 2535).

By George Bonilla                                           Copyright 1998 Lazarus Audio Products