The Good Life

A few words by Ricky Diaz about Roberto Zenteno.

 I've known Roberto Zenteno, a great musician, good friend and "my compadre", for fifty years. in my early years, while still living in my hometown of Piedras Negras, Mexico, I went to see a show of a ventriloquist by the name of "paco miller". I heard someone playing the trumpet in the show, and that was the first time i saw and heard the talents of Roberto Zenteno. On another occasion, "Los Bazookas", a musical show, with good musicians from monterrey, mexico, including Roberto Zenteno, passed thru my hometown and there i heard again, this golden trumpet player being featured, Roberto Zenteno. I had the pleasure of seeing roberto as a featured artist, with chucho mendoza's orchestra at "the drive-in in Matamoros, Mexico. But our friendship didn't start until the early 1950's when we met in Houston. It was then that we met elsa zenteno and roberto, and belen and i became great friends ever since. We laughed, played music together, and also played sports like baseball, and tennis. Roberto was the life of the party every time we got together, and his jokes!!!!. He had a gift of telling jokes that kept us roaring with laughter. But on a serious note, for my compadre, his family was his number one priority in life. We both had a mutual passion for music and with this common interest, started the beginning of a long lasting friendship. A friendship that was mutual in sincereness, respect, and love for each other's familes. I don't believe we ever had a disagreement in 50 years just great pleasure and fun whenever we got together. Roberto was an outstanding performer, and his "malaguena", and "la virgen de la macarena", were always applauded and admired by all. In the 70's, I invited roberto to bring his big band to play side by side with the ricky diaz orchestra during perforlmances with olga guillott at the hyatt regency and marriott hotel. These were very special and memorable moments for both roberto and i, and we often reminenced on them. A couple of weeks ago, he called me and said he had heard a song in a movie and liked it very much. This song happened to be a hit song by "Tony Bennett" in the early 60's by the name of "the good life". His request was for me to write him an arrangement for his band to feature his trumpet as a soloist. Today, this has had a strong impact on me because, just like the title of this song, "The Good Life", that's what roberto lived all through his years as a performer in music and his love for all his friends and family. Roberto, I tried last monday and tuesday to call you, to let you know that your arrangement was ready, but could no longer reach you. So today roberto, i am reaching out to you in heaven and playing for you your song. I will always play this arrangement with my orchestra and feature the trumpet, like you would have wanted it, in your honor and ( in "homenaje") to you my dear friend, wonderful musician and "my compadre", roberto zenteno, whom we love and will miss forever. May god bless you and the Zenteno family, Ricky, Belen, and the Diaz family