Baja Marimba Band

In 1963 Herb Alpert offered Julius Wechter his own group. "We were like the Tijuana Brass' bad little brothers. Herb and his group would dress in tuxedos and put on a tight, professional presentations. And we'd flop on stage in big sombreros and old clothes with big pasted-on mustaches, smoking cigars and drinking," Julius Wechter told Todd Everett.


Baja Nights
Maria Elena
Up Cherry Street
Herb Alpert
Russell Bridges--piano
Lyle Ritz--bass
Jerry Williams--percussion
Laurindo Almeida--guitar
Ray Pohlman--bass
Hal Blaine--drums
Tommy Tedesco--guitar
John Lowe--windwoods
Frank Capp--percussion
Julius Wechter--marimba
Acapulco 1922
En Quarto
I Told You So
Lonely Little Lover Lost
Samba de Orpheu
Herb Alpert
Russell Bridges--piano
Lyle Ritz--bass
Jerry Williams--percussion
Laurindo Almeida--guitar
Ray Pohlman--bass
Larry Bunker--percussion
John Lowe--woodwinds
Hal Blaine--drums
Tommy Tedesco--guitar
Julius Wechter--marimba
Maria's First Rose
Pedro's Porch (Part 2)
Bob Edmondson--trombone
Richard Hurwitz--trumpet
Dave Wells--trombone
Anthony Terran--trumpet


"Comin' In the Back Door" sold over 100,000 copies by April 1964.

In 1964, San Francisco radio station KSFO held a contest asking listeners to tell them in  up to 25 words why Herb Alpert should write a song for them. Wincle Lamoyan Coan's entry was to ask that his name be the title of a song. Sub-titled "A KSFO Fan" it became the B side of "Comin' In the Back Door" and Wincle also received one percent of the royalties on net sales. 

In January 1966, Billboard predicted that "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window" would reach its Hot 100 singles chart. Its album For Animals Only entered the Billboard Top LP's chart on January 8, 1966. It peaked at #108 on March 5, 1966.

"The Portuguese Washerwoman" from the Watch Out album peaked at #15 on Billboard's Easy Listening Chart on April 2, 1966. It was also #126 Bubbling Under the Hot 100 on April 2. The song recharted on Easy Listening on October 1, 1966 and peaked at #15 on October 22, 1966. Watch Out was a Billboard New Action Album with National Breakout in November 1966.

"Ghost Riders in the Sky" entered Billboard's Easy Listening Chart at #39 on November 26, 1966.

In October 1966, A&M Records announced the first annual mustache contest to promote the Baja Marimba Band. The contest was open to A&M distributors who not only grew mustaches they answered, "I am growing this mustache in tribute to the Baja Marimba Band and what they stand for because...." 

For Animals Only entered the Billboard Top LP chart on May 14, 1966 at #145.

In 1966, the Baja Marimba Band played at the White House staff Christmas party.

In June 1967 Julius Wechter re-signed a long-term contract with A&M Records.

The second annual Baja Marimba Band Moustache contest was judged by A&M artists Claudine Longet and Liza Minnelli and Mrs. Burt Bacharach (Angie Dickinson). This time the contest was opened to distributors, rack jobbers, one stops, retailers and radio stations.

The Greatest Hits album of 1970 were the most requested songs from radio play and concerts.

In 1971 Billboard reported the members of the Baja Marimba Band to be Julius Wechter, Roger Kellaway, Michael Hollander, Chuck Domanico, Emil Richards, Tommy Tedesco, Jim Keltner, Jose Soares, Pete Jolly and Mike Lang. All of these men had been part of the recording sessions by the Baja Marimba Band over the years.

When the Baja Marimba Band left A&M Records in 1973, it had sold more than three million albums and singles according to Billboard, March 10, 1973).


  1. Big Bats in Latin Hits. Billboard, April 4, 1964.
  2. A&M 'Greatest Hits' LPs Due This Month. Record World, February 14, 1970.
  3. Marimbas Lead Latin Jazz Sextet in Santa Monica Performance. Todd Evertt. Music Notebook.
Recording Years / Label
1963-1970 -  A&M Records
1964-1965 -  Almo International
Name Member Years Instruments
Bernie Fleischer flute, piccolo, alto flute
Bud Coleman guitar, mandolin
Charlie Chiarenza guitar, mandolin
Curry Tjader bass marimba, percussion
Dave Wells trombone, bass trombone
Frank DeCaro rhythm guitar
Frank Devito drums, vocals
Julius Wechter marimba
Lee Katzman trumpet
Mel Pollan Fender bass
Name Birth Death
Bernie Fleischer 1931-11-10 2014-11-03
Bud Coleman 1921-07-07 1967-05-26
Charlie Chiarenza 1930-04-13 2013-03-14
Curry Tjader 1933-10-23 2001-01-16
Dave Wells
Frank DeCaro 1939-12-06
Frank Devito 1930-08-14 2024-01-22
Julius Wechter 1935-05-10 1999-02-01
Lee Katzman 1928-05-17 2013-08-01
Mel Pollan 1931-06-13
Name See associated acts
Julius Wechter Herb Alpert & the Tijuana BrassJulius Wechter
Lee Katzman Terry Gibbs Dream Band

There are thousands of artists on the ON A&M RECORDS website. Click on a photograph to take you to a new artist!