Jesus "Jess" Porras - The Mixtures

Jesus “Jess” Porras, an Oxnard native who was a founding member of the Mixtures, a Ventura County R&B band that scored regional hits in the early 1960s with songs like Rainbow Stomp and Olive Oyl.

Porras died Dec. 26, 2010 at age 69 in San Diego, where he and his wife of 45 years, Bobi, had lived since 1972. He worked as a learning disabilities specialist at San Diego State University.

Porras was a skilled musician who could play the violin, saxophone, flute, guitar and piano. The Playboys, a band he co-founded at Oxnard High School, morphed into the Mixtures in 1960. The band’s name was a nod to its racially mixed lineup, which included Latino, African-American, Native American and Caucasian musicians. Under the guidance of Eddie Davis, a music promoter based in Los Angeles, the group — with Porras playing saxophone — went from playing high schools and local roller rinks to packing SoCal nightclubs like the Rainbow Gardens in Pomona and Legion Stadium in El Monte. The Mixtures served as the house band for Parade of Hits, a weekly live music series that aired on Los Angeles television station KCOP. On the show, they backed up such artists as Roy Orbison, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell and Paul Anka. The group’s only album, Stompin’ at the Rainbow, was recorded in 1962 and featured covers of Peter Gunn, Peppermint Twist, So Fine and Besame Mucho. This past October, Minky Records reissued the album on CD with several bonus tracks. Saticoy resident Dan Pollock, who played guitar in the Mixtures, remembers Porras fondly.

“I’ve known Jess for over 50 years and he’s more like a blood brother than a friend,” Pollock wrote on Porras’ memorial guest book at “He taught me more about the fundamentals of music than anyone ever has and he introduced me to the great music from Mexico and other Latin countries.”

Porras eventually left the Mixtures and formed a new group, the Top 5. He was drafted in 1964 and, after a stint in the military, he went to San Diego State University, where he earned a master’s degree in speech pathology and audiology.

In addition to his wife, Bobi, Porras is survived by his daughter, Rina; his son, Joaquin; and a granddaughter, Adhara.