Sad news from Mexico that Carlos Soto Beltran, aka El Jokoki, has died of complications from leukemia.
Soto was the tuba player for many years for Banda El Recodo, the holy mother of all bandas in Sinaloa.
He grew into something of the Michael Jordan of the tuba, in that he was a great player, but also made his persona into something younger tuba players wanted to follow and emulate.
He was, in other words, the first star tuba player – something that Mexican tuba playing didn’t have before him.
Soto spent 20 years with Recodo. He retired due to his illness in 2012 and his place was taken by another great and influential tuba player, Alfredo Herrejon.
During his years with Recodo, though, Soto raised the bell on his tuba so that the audience could see his face, thus plucking tuba players forever from the obscurity and ignominy they endured with the bell covering their face down to their nose.
I want to say he was among the first to engrave his tubas with florid designs – but others please correct me if I’m wrong.
Soto also had a signature tuba mouthpiece – the Jokoki – made by Pablo Garibaldi of Garibaldi Music in Paramount, CA.
His nickname means Cream.
El Debate from Culiacan says in its obituary that he retired from Recodo to dedicate himself to therapy for people sick with cancer, spinal ailments and others.