Pete La Roca Sims
April 7, 1938 - November 20, 2012

Pete La Roca Sims

Pete La Roca's decision to leave music in 1968 and become an attorney (under his original name of Pete Sims) cut short a productive career. He started his career playing timbales in Latin bands, changing his name to Pete La Roca at the time.

He played drums with Sonny Rollins (1957- early 1959) and had associations with Jackie McLean, Slide Hampton, the John Coltrane Quartet (where he was the original drummer in 1960) and Marian McPartland.

La Roca led his own group (1961-62), was the house drummer at the Jazz Workshop in Boston (1963-64) and worked with Art Farmer (1964-65), Freddie Hubbard, Mose Allison, Charles Lloyd (1966), Paul Bley and Steve Kuhn among others.

He led two impressive albums:
the classic Blue Note record Basra with Joe Henderson and Bliss, a Douglas session (reissued on Muse) featuring Chick Corea and John Gilmore.

La Roca started playing jazz again in 1979 and has performed on an occasional basis up to the present time.

Pete LaRoca Sims passed away November 20, 2012.. He was 74 and he lost his battle with lung cancer.

Sonny Rollins - Pete La Roca

© Pierre Yves Sulem

© Pierre Yves Sulem

© Paul La Raia

Drummer Pete La Roca (who has gone back to his original name of Pete Sims) had an opportunity in 1997 to lead his first record date in 30 years. Sims, who had become active in jazz again after a long period outside of music, put together a particularly strong band for this CD, utilizing both Dave Liebman and Lance Bryant on sopranos, trumpeter Jimmy Owens, tenor saxophonist Ricky Ford, pianist George Cables, and bassist Santi Debriano. Owens and Liebman, especially, sound inspired, while Ford displays a more original tone than he had had previously, although Dexter Gordon's influence can still be felt in some of his phrases. The music is essentially advanced hard bop with plenty of variety. Highlights include a version of "Body and Soul" based on the famous John Coltrane recording, "Susan's Waltz," "Nhon Bashi," and Chick Corea's "Amandas Song." Even a perky, if slightly out-of-place rendition of "The Candyman" works well. Highly recommended.

Masters Place

Pete La Roca Sims - Art Farmer - 1964

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