Maestro Roberto Zenteno was a Mexican trumpet prodigy who went on to lead popular big bands in Houston for five decades.  Zenteno, who once toured with Perez Prado — known as the King of Mambo in the '50s — performed jazz, salsa, meringue, swing and other genres Thursday nights at downtown's Sambuca Jazz Cafe with his Roberto Zenteno Band.

Born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico, Roberto Zenteno grew with up in a creative household. His parents, who were actors and dancers, traveled Mexico with a vaudeville act. Though one of his arms had to be amputated after an accident when he was 5, Zenteno excelled in many activities.  He started playing baseball young and was a killer with one arm, but the doctor told him he had to quit.  So he picked up trumpet, and the rest was history.  By 13, Roberto Zenteno was performing with a popular Monterrey band that traveled throughout Mexico and the Southwest United States.

He met his wife, Elsa, in the 1940s at a bullfight in Mexico.  In the 1950s, he began playing at the Rice Hotel and private clubs in Houston until he and his wife decided to move to Houston where they had five children, Norma, Robert, Ernesto, David and Javier.  He was a musical icon and pioneer here in Houston.  He use to play exclusive clubs for lawyers, celebrities, judges and athletes.  He always had great stories and jokes that were original, things only he could come up with.

 People will remember him for his talent, kindness and humor.



Roberto   ZENTENO  -  Founder

The Good Life of Roberto Zenteno - Houston Remembers a Music Legend

Written by Editor of Bravo Houston,

Olivia Flores Alvarez