Pianist Rebeca Mauleón grew up in San Francisco listening to Carlos Santana. When she started playing professionally in her early twenties, Mauleón performed and recorded with some of the luminaries of Latin and jazz including Tito Puente, Israel “Cachao” Lopez, even Santana himself.
Today, she’s a prolific player, composer, and arranger, but she does more than create music. Mauleón is a musicologist and author, having written several texts on Latin music technique, including the Salsa Guidebook. Spark catches up with Mauleón as she switches hats, more than once — composing Latin music for software companies, teaching Caribbean music traditions at City College of San Francisco, and leading her own ensemble on stage and off.