Charlie & The Jives
Charlie Alvarado started playing clarinet and saxophone in his junior high school band. During high school he played for the Johnny Saro Orchestra. Like many young Tejanos, he went into the service after high school, serving in the Marine Corps.
When he returned to San Antonio in 1956, he found a job playing 3-4 nights a week with a local Tejano rhythm & blues band called Mike & the Bellaires. Around 1957, he became the leader of his own band, The Jives, which made a big name for themselves in the late ‘50s. The band was even invited to back up Big Joe Turner on his tour of Texas.
The Jives were also referred to as the “All Nations Band” because it was multi-racial. Black musicians, including Jitterbug Webb and Bobby Taylor who later moved onto Motown, fine-tuned their skills in his group. In the 1960s, Charlie went to Chicago to find more opportunities. Before returning to San Antonio, he played with blues guitarist Eddy Clearwater.