PEGGY JO OLIVA "PJ"
The early years of childhood, is where the footing ones future is created. The year is where imprints are made to lead you in the direction that your heart desires. This is exactly what happened to Peggy Jo Rodriguez - Oliva “PJ”.
PJ was born into a musical family. Her Father Arturo Rodriguez who was Afro-Puerto Rican descent, born and bread in Spanish Harlem New York had a passion for Business, Design, Jazz and Percussion, and her Mother Margarit Rita Morales "Peggy" who was Cuban Venezuelan Irish decent, born and raised in the Bronx New York, was her Father’s right hand lady in their very successful Lighting Fixture Company of over 30 years. She was also a dedicated Mother and an incredible Salsa dancer, who loved Afro Cuban Rumba (as her greatest influence was María Antonieta Pons) and the New York sounds of Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. PJ was the youngest of four children and the only girl. Her childhood memories of music consisted of Jazz sounds, Rumba, Salsa and everything else in between like Funk, Rock, Soul, Hip Hop and R&B. Of course James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Earth Wind and Fire were a household necessity.
PJ grew up submerged in music, hearing it, loving it and living it. Her first memory of music at 3 years old, was of her Dad listening to Jazz musician’s like Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong and later on (Latin, Progressive, Funk and Soul Jazz sounds) like Spiro Gyra, Jean Luc-Ponty, Yellow Jackets, Chick Corea, Al Dimeola, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Eddie Palmieri, Michito, Chucho Valdes and Irakere. In the 80’s her Father and Mother listened to Ruban Blades, the Fañia Allstars and discovered bands from Cuba like Los Van Vans, NG La Banda and Orquesta Reve. PJ's Father even played percussion and led a band called the “Salsa Express” that was the house band for Herbie Hancock’s Club in West Hollywood called the “Nucleus Nuance”. Her Father would always have Jam Sessions, or (what the Latino’s call) “Descargas” and many local musicians and percussionists frequented her home, like Gerald Wilson, Danilo Lozano, Miguel Cruz, Papo Rodriguez, Robertito Melendez, Bobby Matos, Tony Rosa, Ricardo Alba and Long John Oliva. By the age of 13, PJ already understood the value of quality music and percussion.
By the age of 18, PJ studied Art & Graphic Design at San Diego State University, and at the sametime pursued one of her dreams as a percussionist and started playing in local San Diego bands. After receiving her B.A. in Art & Graphic Design in 1994, she accepted a position working for Clark + Gable Design Firm in Seattle for 2 + years, under the direction of Tony Gable who was the designer and percussionist for the "206 Band" and "Kenny G". While at Clark + Gable Design, PJ worked with clients such as "Mike Tice Enterprises" (Budweiser Party Bus), Lost Luggage (High End Portfolio Designer) and former Nirvana bassist Chris Novoselic and his project "Static Radio". Thereafter, she was offered a position of lead graphic and web designer for a Fortune 500 companies “Smartpages.com” (in Old Town Pasadena), and “Propertyfirst.com” (in Alhambra), and simoultaneously contracted jobs with a reputable design agency named “Portfolio” (in West Hollywood). While at smartpages.com, PJ was responsible for generating more than 50,000 ads for the launch of their new site, eventually being bought out by yp.com.
In May of 1998, PJ went to Cuba while five months pregnant and she was exposed to the musical excellence of bands like NG La Banda, Manolin, Los Van Van and El Orquestra Reve and this experience changed her life. PJ was inspired to be a part of this revolutionary musical movement that had been in existence in Cuba for many years and that was beginning to transpire here in the United States.
In September of 1998, after returning from Cuba, and giving birth to her only Son Christian Arturo Gutierrez “Turi”, PJ went out on her
own as a contract graphic and web designer, working for Big10Four Productions, designing flyers and logos for musical groups such as, Eyedentity (Diana & Krishna Booker, the daughter of Airto Moriera, Flora Purim), Quetzal and the Broadway Music Hall,
while simultaneously studying Afro Cuban percussion.
In 1999, Peggy met her soul mate backstage at the Wiltern Theater in West Hollywood California, at a Los Muñequitos de Matanzas’s show, Juanito Long John Oliva "Penalti", who was considered to be one of the biggest Cuban percussionists in the United States by way of Belen, Cuba. He was described as the “Jazz Rumbero”. In 2000, they got married and decided to pursue a dream together. In 2001 Lucumi Music Productions was born, where PJ’s passion for music and irrefutable creative capabilities were able to merge to create great art, music and find great talents. In the same year, the AC Jazz Project was born. Some of their honors and awards included the AC Jazz Project’s Album LUCUMI, which is top 100 Jazz Recordings of all time, Best Latin Jazz Artist of 2003-2004 from the Long Beach Jazz Search Competition and the 2006 IAJE Latin Jazz Award winner.
In 2004, Long John passed on and Lucumi Music Productions opened up booking and promotional services, and has since worked with some of the best artists in Jazz and Cuban music, including; Dennis Chambers, Rayford Griffin, Kamasi Washington, Luis Conte, Patrice Rushen, Luis Eric Gonzalez, Carlitos del Puerto, Jimmy Branly, Orlando Valle "Maraca", Long John Oliva, Haakon Graf, Yosvany Terry, Havana D’ Primera, Giraldo Piloto & Klimax, Wil Campa, Francisco Aguabella and more...
PJ has also continued with the AC Jazz Project, in Long John’s honor, and in 2013, under her direction, management and as Co-Executive Producer, along with William Tilford, collaborated with Cuban trumpeter Composer Josiel Perez Hernandez and with other Cuban musicians on a cd called “Conga Buena”, the AC Jazz Project’s 3rd recording featuring lead Cuban vocalist Alberto Tamayo, Co-Producer / Drummer / Engineer Jimmy Branly, Saxophonist Extraordinaire Kamasi Washington who is now on Flying Lotus’ Brain Feeder label, world renowned percussionist Luis Conte, bassist Yosmel Montejo and pianist Fermin Sifontes were able to compose and produce songs which were #5 and #6 on the music charts in Lima Peru and Cali Colombia.
Despite challenging times, raising her Son in the music biz, PJ managed, realizing her true strength and was able to successfully break through obstacles and put her band on the map in the world of Latin Jazz.
Today, Lucumi Music Productions has transformed into an independent record label / booking and promotional agency, expanding it’s musical world to include, R&B, Soul and Hip Hop and acting as a platform for newly signed artists.