Julio Alejandro Pincheira Cubillos

Stage name: Coto Pincheira

Chilean-born pianist Coto Pincheira is an internationally experienced pianist and Musical Leader with over 20 years of education and experience, playing a variety of musical styles which include but are not limited to; Classical, Jazz, Afro-Cuban Jazz, Cuban Salsa, to Pop music.

Coto started his studies of music at the early age of nine, studying Organ at the Yamaha Academy in Viña Del Mar with Leonardo Barrientos, at the Conservatorium of the Catholic University of Valparaiso with Professor Anibal Correa, Chile most renowned classical pianist. Coto also studied classical music in several consevatorium of Viña del mar and Santiago. In 1990 Coto studied at the Modern School of Music in Santiago Chile’s most prestigious institution.

The best school of all “La Calle” (The streets) where there is an infinite to learn and to expierence that will never end.

At 24 he headed to Havana Cuba for ten years, meeting, studying and getting to work with Cuba most renowned pianist, and artitst such as Hilario Duran, Ernan Lopez Nussa, Ruben Gonzales, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Chucho Valdes, Frank Emilio etc His abilities were such he performed for two years in the world famous Tropicana Cabaret – the first and only foreign pianist to accomplish the honor of playing with the big band (36 musicians ) for 2 years: Playing for Artists such as Omara Portuondo, Oscar Valdes, Amaury Perez Los Papines, Bamboleo, Diakara, etc..

He came to the San Francisco Bay Area in mid 2002 gracing the Cuban Salsa and Jazz scene. Coto is playing with the most respected musicians in Bay Area and around.

Experiences and Performances

  • Presently promoting his new album “Coto Pincheira & The Sonido Moderno Project (Latin Jazz)”
  • AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival, California
  • The Jazz School in Berkeley, CA
  • The Coto Pincheira Group live TV performance on Univision,
  • The Coto Pincheira Group live performance at SF Carnaval . (Main Stage)
  • KPFA 94.1 FM Con Sabor Interview and Performance Showcase
  • The Coto Pincheira Group Concert at the Palace of Fine Arts, SF CA
  • Piano player for Tito Garcia y La Internacional, outstanding mambo band.(2006 to Present)
  • Tribute to Carlos Federico at Jazz at Pearls Hosted by Chuy Varela.(2006)
  • Afro-Cuban all Star band 2005 La Pena Cultural Center New Years Eve
  • John Santos and The Machete Ensemble 2004
  • Coto and Friends July 2003
  • Afro Cuban Jazz Concert, The Jazz School, Berkeley, California
  • Music and Piano Instructor 2002 to Present
  • Band Director and Pianist 2002 to Present
  • Ritmo Y Armonia, Cuban Salsa, San Francisco, California
  • Elias Pereda & The International Mob, American Jazz, San Francisco, California
  • Pianist 2002 to Present, Chris Amberger Trio, Straight Ahead Jazz, San Francisco, California
  • Pianist October 2002, Salsa Concert at Yoshi’s, Oakland, California
  • Freelance Pianist 2002 to Present, Various Local Bands Salsa, Jazz and Pop, San Francisco, California
  • Pianist 2001 to 2002, Oscar Valdes Y Su Grupo Diakara, Afro-Cuban Jazz & Salsa, Cuba
  • Pianist 1997 to 2001, The Oscarito Valdes Sextet, Latin Contemporary & Afro Cuban Jazz, Cuba
    Oscarito is considered one of the world best Latin drummers .
  • Pianist 1996 to 1998, Amaury Perez, Cuban Music, Europe Tour
  • Pianist 1995 to 1997, Bamboleo, Cuban Salsa, Cuba
  • Pianist 1993 to 1995, Tropicana, Traditional Cuban Music, Live Musical & Dance Show, Havana, Cuba
    The first and only foreigner to be accepted as the pianist for the famous and world renown Tropicana Night Club.
  • Pianist 1983 to 1993, Ensemble, Jazz, Chile
    Ensemble was awarded 1st place in the Jazz Festival
  • Additionally Coto has recorded CD’s with various bands in Cuba as well as various international bands.


Coto Pincheira and his musicians were off the chart! This guy is a prodigy, a world class musician that stands with the best of them. He has Jazz in his blood, a sensitive passion that goes beyond his technical mastery of musicianship.   Honestly there were moments as he played the piano I was thinking… “Get a room dude!” His band matched the passion and musicianship perfectly. WOW! What a show!   Thanks again!
Mark Grauer KOIT Radio 96.5 FM San Francisco


  • Yamaha Academy, Vina Del Mar, Chile
  • Catholic University of Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar , Chile
  • Conservatorium of Santiago, Chile
    Conservatorium of Music, Educated by Professor Anibal Correa, Chile’s most famous Classical Pianist
  • Escuela Moderna de Musica, Chile
  • Escuela De Musica Ignacio Cervantes, Havana Cuba
    Conducting and Orchestration
  • Hilario Duran, Havana, Cuba
    Cuban Percussion, Harmony and Piano
  • Escuela Nacional de Artes de Cuba
    Afro Cuban Jazz and Techniques


Received 01 Visa Classification from the United States of America the highest possible classification a foreign musician can obtain. Only a handful of foreign musicians are awarded this classification due to the strict and extraordinary demands

Obtained work permit to play music professionally in Cuba. Since Coto was not Cuban born, Coto had to perform and be evaluated by the Committee of Musicians consisting of Cuba’s most renowned musicians. Coto received a Level One rating which is the highest possible level. This allowed him to perform with Cuba’s most famous musicians and bands.


Spanish (First Language), English

The Spotlight Series highlights upcoming Latin Jazz musicians that have yet to reach national recognition. Many of these musicians thrive in local scenes and some tour in support of releases. All these musicians contribute greatly to the overall Latin Jazz scene, and they deserve our “spotlighted” attention.



The Sonido Moderno Project
Coto Pincheira

When a Latin Jazz artist decides to incorporate a fusion approach into their writing, they risk bearing the heavy weight of the style. Many influential figures have paved the way for incredible fusion from jazz icons Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea to the Latin Jazz fusion band Irakere. These artists created deep musical statements that displayed vision, style, and a distinctly modern outlook. These works proved the potential behind the genre and warranted future explorations into the crossroads between jazz and rock. On the other hand, many more artists chose the lowest common denominator between jazz and funk, throwing well-known blues licks over a two-chord vamp and a funk drum beat. In many cases, these artists found more commercial success and built fusion’s often-questionable reputation. As a result, audiences often expect any attempt at fusion to offer something funky and easily accessible. While this path may push the musician towards mass appeal, the lack of content always provides drab artistic results. An artist that hopes to combine Afro-Cuban rhythms, jazz harmony, improvisation, and funk aesthetics needs to draw inspiration from the more meaningful fusion works. Pianist Coto Pincheira takes this challenge and delivers an incredible ride between all these styles on The Sonido Moderno Project.

Displaying A Funky Fusion Edge
On several tracks, Pincheira proudly displays a funky fusion edge while staying firmly connected to Afro-Cuban styles. Pincheira’s massively funky synthesizer line sets the tone on “A Chileno En La Habana” making way for a bluesy melody filled with rhythmic displacements and sharp dynamic turns. The writing avoids the jam band mentality though, as Pincheira carefully combines complex feel changes, intricate lines, and bursts of improvisation from trumpet player Mike Olmos. The rhythm section quiets to a bubbling funk groove as Pincheira mixes a Herbie Hancock influence with calve driven phrasing, building an interesting idea as the rhythm section bursts into a son montuno. Dave McNab’s crisp distorted guitar aggressively cuts over the funky groove on “Positive Influences” as Pincheira’s 80s synth sound recalls the bands of Chick Corea and Scott Henderson. The rhythm section charges into a stuttering Tower of Power style Latin funk behind McNab, who blends a jazz sensibility with driving assertive rock energy. A drastic musical shift sends the rhythm section into a traditional jazz swing, as Pincheira runs rapid lines across the piano with splashes of modern harmony. A searing unison lick sends the rhythm section into a jagged groove on “Modern Sound Project” while the wind players place a powerful melody over shifting time signatures. Pincheira’s writing takes advantage of striking contrasts, creating a long composition over a half time funk feel, an up-tempo songo, and funk elements. As the rhythm section quiets into a sparse Latin feel, Pincheira takes his time developing simple ideas into long lines and tense rhythms. These pieces find Pincheira indulging in funk while maintaining his musicality and connection to Afro-Cuban music with solid compositions.

Offering A Softer Side
On two songs, Pincheira provides some contrast by offering a softer, more reflective musical personality. The group displays a dramatic air of intensity as they move carefully into “Wendy’s Ballad.” Pincheira paints a stunning melodic picture, phrasing with a thoughtful shape and a rich palette of harmonic colors. The pianist maintains a focused musicality throughout his improvisation, holding the spotlight with a transparent strength that reveals a deep artistic personality. Flautist Miguel Martinez and violinist Alfredo de la Fe travel through an elegant danzon with modern edges from the rhythm section and an explosive leap into Afro-Cuban 6/8 on “Danzon Para Una Noche.” As the band moves into a cha cha cha section, Martinez jumps into a solo that blends tradition with his enthusiastic personality until Pincheira winds introspective jazz lines over the driving groove. After a quick mambo, de la Fe tears through a powerful statement filled with sharp rhythmic accents, leading into a tastefully constructed timbale improvisation from master percussionist Orestes Vilato. Pincheira displays essential depth on these tracks, showing that his skills move beyond the groove.

Making A Connection To Modern Latin Jazz Approaches
Pincheira expands upon his fusion concept with several pieces that make a connection to modern Latin Jazz approaches. An extended percussion break from drummer Colin Douglas and conguero Silvestre Martinez leads into a ferocious son montuno groove and a winding melody on “Tribute To A Generation.” Olmos adds equal doses of creative jazz thought and fiery runs into his statement, followed by a steadily simmering collection of screaming phrases from saxophonist Sheldon Brown. The band lowers the dynamic behind Pincheira, allowing him to build his idea into a choppy ostinato pattern behind Martinez’s improvisation. A funky vamp from Pincheira’s synthesizer rides over a guaguanco on “Original Steps,” leading into an understated melody from Brown. The rhythm section hits a heavy groove behind Olmos, who conjures images of Miles with his clever phrasing and alternation between a Harmon mute and open sound. Pincheira slowly leads his synthesizer into his solo, placing short licks over a modern guaguanco, and eventually extending his ideas into long lines and more complex rhythmic figures. The rhythm section bursts into an assertive groove on “Suite 301,” while the wind players attack an angular melody with rhythmic precision. The full texture suddenly falls into a sea of bata drums behind Brown, who twists long streams of notes around the 6/8 feel with a quiet intensity. After a mambo over the original vamp, the rhythm section leaps into a son montuno behind Pincheira’s energetic extended improvisation before creating a funky vamp for a solo from Douglas. These songs validate Pincheira’s Latin Jazz credentials, revealing a deep study and thorough knowledge of Afro-Cuban styles and their relationship to jazz.

A Distinctly Modern Sound
Pincheira produces music with depth, artistry, and soul on The Sonido Moderno Project, creating a unique fusion that respectfully ties together several worlds. Pincheira’s writing holds the key to the album’s success; each piece works around a complex form, a detailed melody, and well-constructed harmonies. There’s a healthy dose of funk throughout the album, but it never overshadows Pincheira’s relationship to Afro-Cuban music. Instead, it makes this connection stronger as the pianist leans more towards a timba concept of funk rather than an American conception. While traces of Hancock and Corea filter through Pincheira’s work at times, he draws a heavier influence from groups like Irakere and Mezcla. Pincheira includes an amazing amount of diversity in his writing, switching between styles and genres, sometimes very quickly. The rhythm section handles the music’s shifting feels with ease, plowing through the music’s technical demands without sacrificing the overall feel. At every turn, the musicians provide an impressive performance that displays conviction and belief in Pincheira’s music. There’s a definite connection to fusion on The Sonido Moderno Project, but boxing Pincheira’s music into that classification limits its potential; it’s a broad look at the inherent possibilities when a musician takes an honest look at modern jazz styles.


Keyboard Magazine’s Unsigned Artist of the Month



Coto Pincheira & The Sonido Moderno Project (MSP)

The long awaited debut album by Bay Area pianist/keyboardist, Coto Pincheira, is a marvel of synthesized electric jazz fusion blended with Afro-Cuban percussion and rhythm. From Chile originally, Coto moved as a teen to Cuba to study music. His journey led him to a variety of gigs including a steady job playing at the Tropicana. It was a time in Cuba around the late 1970s when Chucho Valdes and Emiliano Salvador were integrating synthesizers into the Cuban mix. It served as a profound influence for Coto as this album shows. With some of the SF Bay’s best, Coto delivers intriguing music with high caliber musicality. “Suite 301″ opens and contains three distinct parts that evoke different moods and texture. One minute Coto is grooving on keys ala Return To Forever as he pours out cascades of electrified melodic lines while the next he is playing on a acoustic grand with a jazzy classical feel. Dave McNab rocks out on guitar on “Postive Influences” for the first part before Coto digs in for another great acoustic piano solo, this time over an upbeat straight-ahead hard bop beat. “Danzon For A Night” (features special guests Alfredo De La Fe and Orestes Vilato) and “Wendy’s Ballad” slows things down beautifully for an intimate portrayal of Coto’s musical gifts. “Tribute To A Generation” should have been called Tribute To Irakere as the tune gets terrific treatment from the horn section who impeccably perform the complicated syncopated melodies with precision and swing. “A Chileno In Havana” is a funky backbeat boogaloo that is highlighted by a blistering trumpet solo by Mike Olmos and closes out a remarkable album by a remarkable musician. (JV)

Chuy Varela
KCSM Radio 91.1
Bay Area radio announcer

Coto is a pianist that I have been drawn to since he first arrived in the Bay Area, and have waited patiently for his new cd to be released. He is a maestro behind the ivory keys, his compositions and arrangements are superb! Keep your eyes open for this man – some day in the not too distant future we will remember him when he played around the Bay Area!

Linda Wosskow
Musician manager consultant


Poem dedicated to “Coto Pincheira & The Sonido Moderno Project”
Coto llegó
Como un tazón de fuego
Su música
Picosa e hipnótica
Un torbellino que me colmó
¡Ay que cosa encantada!
Esta música es
Algo bien viejo
Pero nuevo
Y me hizo renacer
Como él
Nuestro curandero melódico
Mensajero de la locura que me curaa
Ofreciéndonos lo imposible
El milagro asombroso de su regalo precioso
Un encanto rebosando de éxtasis
La belleza profunda de sus composiciónes
Me dejó sin aliento
Completamente embrujada
Y me encuentro
Una muda
Una poeta
Sin una palabra

por Avotcja
Copyright © 5/5/09

Coto arrived
Like a bowl of fire
His music
Spicy & hypnotic
A whirlwind that fills me with pride
What an astonishing delight!
This music
Is something very old
But new
And through it I am reborn
Like him
Our melodic medicine man
Messenger of the madness that heals mee
Offering us the impossible
The amazing miracle of his precious gift
An enchantment overflowing with ecstasy
The intense beauty of his compositions
Leave me breathless
Totally spellbound
I find myself
A Poet
Without even a word

by Avotcja
Copyright © 5/5/09

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