Jet Blue

By Falling James for The LA Weekly

Rubén Funkahuatl Guevara’s musical career is so extensive, it’s virtually impossible to boil it all down into one short paragraph. What’s more, his long and varied back story is so stellar, it reads almost like the plot of a surreal movie. He’s perhaps most widely recognized for his collaborations with Frank Zappa, bringing to life and making real what had previously been Zappa’s fictional doo-wop parody Ruben & the Jets. But the Boyle Heights native’s roots extend all the way back to 1965, when he appeared with Bo Diddley and Tina Turner on the pop television show Shindig! In the ’80s, he reinvented himself as a Chicano activist, fronting the influential band Con Safos and working as a promoter to champion Latin-punk groups like the Plugz and the Brat and such rock en español comers as Tijuana No! Guevara’s own music has moved restlessly from his early days as a blues, R&B and doo-wop stylist into stranger, freakier explorations that draw upon jazz, funk and his extensive spoken-word experience.

This magic medicine man is back after too long of an absence with a new album, The Tao of Funkahuatl, which draws upon all of his varied personas, from the funky downtown grooves of the title track and the spoken-word insights of “La Virgencita de Boyle Heights” to the cool blue introspection of “The Eyes of God.”