Former Earth Wind & Fire guitarist Roland Bautista dies

We're a bit late with this news, but our friend Juewett Bostick informed us of the sad death of highly regarded guitarist Roland Bautista. Bautista was a member of the band Earth, Wind & Fire at various times in the 70s and 80s, and in his career also worked with artists such as Tom Waits, The Jackson 5, Ramsey Lewis, Randy Crawford and George Duke.

Bautista played on the 1973 Earth, Wind & Fire album Last Days and Time and left the band soon after that album's release. Subsequently he released two solo albums on ABC Records, 1977's Bautista and The Heat Of The Wind which was released in 1978. He also worked as a guitar player for the Ronnie Laws Band, The Crusaders, Jackson 5, Lamont Dozier, Ramsey Lewis, Randy Crawford, George Duke, Wayne Henderson and Hubert Laws.

Bautista returned to EWF in 1981 replacing fellow rhythm guitarist Al McKay and performed on 1981's Raise!, 1982's Powerlight and 1983's Electric Universe. He left the band in 1983 when the group went on a temporary hiatus.

Here's a note we received from Roland's friend and noted musician and producer, Welton Gite:

Hello Chris. I was shocked to hear that Roland had passed. I have been trying to find him for over 9 years, and no one knew where he was. The last place I heard that Roland lived was Las Vegas. I asked all my Vegas friends had they seen him, but no one had.

I first met Roland, at a rehearsal, for a Willie Bobo album I was doing. Back then, you actually rehearsed for recordings. After the rehearsal, Roland asked If I'd be interested in doing a gig with his band. I was 19, new to town, and eager to play with as many people
as i could, and this guy was incredible on guitar. I didn't know that he was the guitar player on those EWF records I listened to growing up. WOW!!! I worked with Roland on so many different gigs and records. Roland actually got me the gig with Ronnie Laws and Hubert
Laws, and called me for all sorts of recording sessions.

I was trying to find Roland to tell him Thank You for being a friend and all his help in my career. He was such a great spirit, and always had a smile on his face. Enjoying life. He has been and will continue to be missed.. :-(

Here’s a picture of me, Roland and Jerry Salas, doing a gig at USC, in 1977. Jerry's on the left, I'm in the middle, and Roland is on the right. The drummer, to the left of Jerry, was Roland Brunner Sr. We were both in our early 20's. Good times...

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Roland Bautista



Leave a comment!