Ernie Bucio, a popular longtime Modesto bandleader, died Saturday evening, Aug. 27, according to Martin Martinez, a saxophonist who had been Bucio's friend for three decades.
Bucio's family and friends were with him at the hospital when he died about 7 p.m., Martinez said. The family was in the process of making funeral arrangements.
Bucio suffered a massive stroke earlier this month and was hospitalized at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. The 53-year-old musician was a mentor to many performers who got their start because Bucio gave them that chance. His performances with Ernie Bucio's Little Big Band, Ernie Bucio's Latin Jazz Orchestra, the Gottschalk Concert Band and any of the other groups he led or worked with over the years were well known in Modesto.
They played at downtown restaurants, X-Fest and everything in between, including working with the YES! Company and Modesto Performing Arts. They played at Carnegie Hall in New York and in New Orleans' famed French Quarter.
His energy and determination to play everywhere and anywhere drew praise from peers, performers and students
Published in the Modesto Bee from Aug. 28 to Sept. 4, 2011