Late night talk show hosts who have a resident band and bandleader are a TV mainstay, and Jimmy Kimmel is no exception.
However, there is a unique connection at work here, and he needed to fulfil one condition before assembling his band.
He then said, “I’ll tell you one thing.” Cleto, the leader of my band, had to be a part of it.
Kimmel, who was born in Brooklyn but grew up in Las Vegas, met his lifelong friend and bandmate Cleto Escobedo when he was just 9 years old.
A young prodigy, Kimmel remarked. “Everyone in class would stop what they were doing to watch. He would be met with a roar of applause. It was completely insane.”
Cleto was influenced by his father, a musician, as a child. Kimmel stated, “He went on to become a professional musician.”
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“He went on the road with Paula Abdul and Earth, Wind, and Fire. His own record contract was in place.”
Both of them were huge fans of David Letterman and his band when they were younger.
Cleto Escobedo III (band leader, sax, vocals), Cleto Escobedo, Jr. (sax), Jeff Babko (keyboards, trombone), Jimmy Earl (bass), Jonathan Dresel (drums), and Toshi Yanagi are all members of Local 47 (Los Angeles, CA) (guitar).
In terms of their musical abilities, “they are quite versatile, outstanding musicians, all of them. They cover a wide range of musical styles, from rock and funk to straight-ahead jazz.
I’ve known these people for years, and they’re all my best friends. According to Cleto, “everyone benefits.”
“We can just look at each other and know exactly what to do, what game to play. Our cast and crew are like a second family to us.
After more than 30 years, the elder Escobedo was likely to be reluctant to quit his position as a butler at Caesars Palace.
Which is where he had worked since the early 1980s. Kimmel and Escobedo III collaborated to come up with a proposal.
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The “house band” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on ABC-TV goes by the name “Cleto and the Cletones.” (2003–present)
All three saxes (alto, tenor, and soprano) and occasional vocals are provided by the sextet’s leader, Cleto Escobedo III.
He was Jimmy Kimmel’s childhood neighbour in Las Vegas, and after a brief stint at UNLV, he went on to form the band Santa Fe (now Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns).