BY JACOB BELTRAN, SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS : AUGUST 3, 2014 : Updated: August 3, 2014 9:41pm
SAN ANTONIO — George Ramos Cantu was a Tejano trumpet player with a love for jazz who was inducted into the Tejano Remembering Our Own Tejano Stars Hall of Fame in 2006.
Cantu was remembered by family and friends in the music industry as an integral part of San Antonio's Tejano musical heritage. A radio event Sunday featured tributes from his former band mates and other fellow Tejano performers.
“He was just a very compassionate humble person,” said his son, George Michael Cantu. “He was never one to brag or toot his horn that he was an accomplished player.”
Cantu died from congestive heart failure Tuesday. He was 65.
A California native, Cantu grew up in San Antonio after moving with his family at a young age. At just 15, Cantu began performing.
“He knew he had the musical talent,” his son said. “He was the type of person who could hear a song on the radio and in five minutes he could pick it up on his trumpet.”
He began his musical career alongside his high school friends, who formed a group called Danny and the Tejanos.
Cantu, a 1966 Lanier High School graduate, started playing with Gilbert and the Blue Notes.
Cantu played in several bands, including Sunny and the Sunliners, the Liberty Band, and with artists such as Shelly Lares and Selena.
He joined the Latin Breed in 1973 and even played in the orchestra that performed at several Tejano Music Awards ceremonies.
Along with his love of Tejano music, Cantu had a fondness for jazz and was a fan of artists such as Chuck Mangione.
“My dad always loved the saxophone and trumpet jazz, so he started listening to jazz and just really enjoyed the passion that came from the person who was playing the instrument,” his son said.
When he wasn't playing or touring, Cantu devoted himself to his family.
“He loved to make people laugh, and he loved to cook,” his son said. “He would spend time with me or his grandkids.”
His induction into the Tejano Hall of Fame, his son said, was Cantu's most treasured accomplishment.
“He was so excited,” his son said. “He was the happiest he could be. ... that all that hard work paid off.”
Cantu suffered a stroke in 2007, and his family of Tejano performers held a benefit for him. The tribute included bands such as Q-VO, Sunny Ozuna and Latin Express, who performed songs from Latin Breed.
“I'm fortunate that we were able to share the passion that he had playing, and that we can share it with the world,” his son said.