Peggy Jo Oliva was born into a musical family. Her Puerto Rican father, Arturo Rodriguez, was born and raised in Spanish Harlem, New York, and was passionate about business, design, jazz, and percussion.
Peggy’s mother, Margarita Morales, aka “Peggy,” is of Cuban, Venezuelan, and Irish descent and was born and raised in the Bronx. Also, she was Arturo’s “right hand” for over thirty years in their successful light fixture company and a dedicated mother, incredible salsa dancer, a lover of Afro-Cuban rumba, and was greatly influenced by María Antonieta Pons, Tito Puente, and Celia Cruz.
PJ was the youngest of four children and the only girl. Her childhood memories include jazz, rumba, salsa, funk, rock, soul, hip-hop, R&B, and artists such as James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, and Earth, Wind, and Fire. PJ grew up listening, loving, and “living” the music. Her earliest musical memories are of her dad listening to Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, and later, Spyro Gyra, Jean-Luc Ponty, the Yellow Jackets, Chick Corea, Al Dimeola, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Eddie Palmieri, Michito and Chucho Valdes and Irakere.
In the 80s, PJ’s father and mother listened to Ruben Blades, the Fania All-Stars, and discovered bands from Cuba, such as Los Van Van, NG La Banda, and Orquesta Reve, to name a few. Arturo also played percussion and led a band called the “Salsa Express,” the house band for Herbie Hancock’s club in West Hollywood called the “Nucleus Nuance.” Also, he often had jam sessions (descargas), and musicians such as Gerald Wilson, Danilo Lozano, Miguel Cruz, Papo Rodriguez, Robertito Melendez, Bobby Matos, Tony Rosa, Ricardo Alba, and Long John Oliva frequented their home. At thirteen, Peggy Jo understood the value and quality of music and percussion. PJ studied at San Diego State University’s School of Art and Graphic Design at eighteen. Simultaneously, she studied percussion and performed with local bands in San Diego.
After receiving her Bachelor of Arts in Art and Graphic Design (1994), she accepted a position at the “Clark and Gable” Design Firm in Seattle, where she worked under the direction of designer and percussionist Tony Gable, who worked with the “206 Band.” Kenny G. While at Clark and Gable Design, PJ worked with clients such as “Mike Tice Enterprises” (Budweiser Party Bus), Lost Luggage (High-End Portfolio Designer), and former Nirvana bassist Chris Novoselic and his project “Static Radio.” After that, she was offered the position of lead graphic and web designer for the Fortune 500 companies Smartpages.com (in Old Town Pasadena) and Propertyfirst.com (in Alhambra) and simultaneously contracted jobs with a reputable design agency named “Portfolio” (in West Hollywood). While at smartpages.com, PJ was responsible for generating more than 50,000 ads for the launch of their new site, which yp.com bought out.
In May of 1998, PJ went to Cuba while pregnant, and she was exposed to the musical excellence of bands like NG La Banda, Manolin, Los Van Van, and Orquestra Reve. The experience changed her life and inspired Peggy Jo to be a part of the revolutionary musical movement that had existed in Cuba for many years and was gaining popularity in the United States. In September of 1998, after returning from Cuba and giving birth to her son Christian Arturo Gutierrez “Turi,” PJ went out on her own as a contract graphic and web designer, working for “Big10Four Productions,” designing flyers and logos for musical groups such as Eyedentity (Diana & Krishna Booker, the daughter of Airto Moriera, Flora Purim), Quetzal and the Broadway Music Hall, while simultaneously studying Afro Cuban percussion.
In 1999, Peggy met her soul mate backstage at the Wiltern Theater in West Hollywood, California, at a Los Muñequitos de Matanzas’s show, “Juanito” Long John Oliva “Penalty,” who was considered to be one of the most prominent Cuban percussionists in the United States by way of Belen, Cuba and described as the “Jazz Rumbero.” In 2000, they got married and decided to pursue a dream. In 2001 Lucumi Music Productions was born, where PJ’s passion for music and creative capabilities merged to create great art and music and discover great talent. The same year, the AC Jazz Project was born. Some of the honors and awards included the AC Jazz Project’s Album LUCUMI, a Top 100 Jazz Recording of all time, Best Latin Jazz Artist of 2003-2004 from the Long Beach Jazz Search Competition, and the 2006 IAJE Latin Jazz Award winner. In 2004, Long John passed, and Lucumi Music Productions opened up booking and promotional services and has since worked with some of the best artists in Jazz and Cuban music, including; Dennis Chambers, Rayford Griffin, Kamasi Washington, Luis Conte, Patrice Rushen, Luis Eric Gonzalez, Carlitos del Puerto, Jimmy Branly, Orlando Valle “Maraca,” Long John Oliva, Yosvany Terry, Havana D’ Primera, Giraldo Piloto & Klimax, Wil Campa, Francisco Aguabella, among others.
Ironically, PJ was unaware that Long John and her father, Arturo Rodriguez, were close friends, nor was she aware that when Long John arrived in the States, he played timbales in her father’s band, “The Salsa Express.” Furthermore, Lon John sent Arturo to Cuba to meet Pancho Quinto, El Gato, other rumberos, and Long John’s family and friends. He respected and loved Peggy’s father and was hospitalized when Arturo died of heart failure. In Long John’s honor, PJ continued with the AC Jazz Project, and in 2013, under her direction as Manager and Co-Executive Producer, along with William Tilford, collaborated with Cuban trumpeter Composer Josiel Perez Hernandez and with other Cuban musicians on “Conga Buena,” featuring Cuban lead vocalist Alberto Tamayo, Co-Producer/Drummer/ Engineer Jimmy Branly, Saxophonist Extraordinaire Kamasi Washington who is now on Flying Lotus’ Brain Feeder label, world-renowned percussionist Luis Conte, bassist Yosmel Montejo, and pianist Fermin Sifontes, which produced hits that climbed to #5 and #6 on the music charts in Lima Peru and Cali Colombia.
Despite challenging times and raising her son, PJ realized her strength, successfully broke through obstacles and put her band on the map. PJ also continues to pursue her career as a graphic designer career and to work for good causes. Her clients range from non-profits to the city of Los Angeles’s Recreation and Parks. Concerning music, PJ is bi-coastal, living in Los Angeles and Miami during various parts of the year. Also, she is managing her son, “Turi,” who is pursuing a music career in Reggaeton and Trap. He is set to release his first single and music video for “Duda” in Spring 2023 on the Indie label Futureless Records. Today, Lucumi Productions is dedicated to reissuing existing music, designing collector’s box sets, and merchandising related merchandise.
VISIT PEGGY JO OLIVA ON BEHANCE REFERENCE