Roland Bautista was an American guitarist who played with Earth, Wind & Fire, The Crusaders, George Duke, Tom Waits, and many other artists. He was known for his versatile and soulful style, as well as his passion and professionalism. He died on February 29, 2012, from natural causes, at the age of 60. His death was mourned by his family, friends, and fans, who remembered him as a wonderful person and a talented musician.
Who was Roland Bautista?
Roland Bautista was born on May 30, 1951, in Long Island, New York. He started playing guitar at an early age and was influenced by blues, jazz, rock, and soul music. He joined the Velvet Illusions, a teen band from Yakima, Washington, in 1967, and played with them in Hollywood, California. He later moved to Los Angeles and became a session musician, working with various artists and producers.
He joined Earth, Wind & Fire in 1972, as a rhythm guitarist, and played on their album Last Days and Time. He left the band shortly after, but returned in 1981, replacing Al McKay. He played on three more albums with the band: Raise!, Powerlight, and Electric Universe. He left the band again in 1983, when they went on a hiatus.
He also released two solo albums on ABC Records: Bautista in 1977, and The Heat of the Wind in 1978. He showcased his skills as a composer, arranger, and producer, as well as a guitarist, on these albums.
How did Roland Bautista die?
He died in Las Vegas, Clark County, Nevada, USA, where he had been living for some time. The exact details of his death are not known, but it is believed that he died peacefully in his sleep.
Bostick also shared a photo of him with Bautista and Jerry Salas, taken in 1977, at a gig at USC.
How did the music community react to Roland Bautista’s death?
Roland Bautista’s death was a shock and a loss for the music community, especially for those who had worked with him or admired his work. Many of them expressed their condolences and tributes on social media and online platforms.
The Earth, Wind & Fire website posted a statement about his death, saying:
- “It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Roland Bautista, a beloved member of the Earth, Wind & Fire family. Roland was a gifted guitarist, a wonderful person, and a loyal friend. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
The Velvet Illusions Facebook page also posted a message, saying:
- “We are saddened to learn of the passing of our former bandmate, Roland Bautista. Roland joined us in Hollywood in 1967, and played guitar on our recording of “Lazy”. He went on to become a successful and respected musician, playing with Earth, Wind & Fire, The Crusaders, and many others. He was a great guy and a great player. Rest in peace, Roland.”
Other musicians and fans also shared their memories and appreciation of Roland Bautista on various forums and blogs. Some of the comments are:
- “Roland was one of the best guitarists I ever heard. He could play anything, from funk to jazz to rock. He had a great tone and a great feel. He was also a very nice and humble person. I had the privilege of meeting him once, and he was very friendly and gracious. He was a true legend. RIP Roland.” (according to Guitarist Forum)
- “Roland was a huge inspiration for me as a young guitarist. I loved his solo albums, especially The Heat of the Wind. He had such a smooth and melodic style, and he could also groove and funk. He was a master of the instrument. I learned a lot from listening to him. He was a genius. RIP Roland.” (according to Jazz Guitar Online)
- “Roland was a phenomenal guitarist and a great human being. I had the honor of working with him on several projects, and he was always professional, creative, and fun. He had a great sense of humor and a great spirit. He was a joy to be around. He was a legend. RIP Roland.” (according to Producer’s Corner)
Roland Bautista’s cause of death was natural, but his legacy is immortal. He was a guitar legend who played with some of the best artists in the world, and also created his own music. He was a versatile and soulful musician, who touched many lives with his talent and personality. He was a respected and loved member of the music community, who will never be forgotten. Rest in peace, Roland Bautista.