Guitarist Bernie Mora doesn't make albums very often. His first one came out in 1990. His second in 1995.
But Mora, who has just released "Dandelion" with his jazz-funk band Tangent, can be forgiven.
As one of the three sibling owners of El Paso's iconic Chico's Tacos, which celebrates its 60th anniversary on July 4, he's had his hands full.
"I'm too busy making deals with my brothers," he says with a laugh.
But he also made time to write and record "Dandelion," an eight-song exploration of '70s rooted jazz fusion, funk and rock that Mora recorded with a mix of local music vets and well-traveled Los Angeles session and touring musicians.
He'll celebrate its release on the Van Nuys, Calif., label Rhombus Records with a performance at 8 p.m. May 29 at the Lotus Nightclub, 201 N. Stanton.
Tickets are $25, on sale at All That Music & Video, both Collectibles stores, wantickets.com and the club.
The guitar player will be backed by six of the musicians who made contributions to "Dandelion" plus two local notables, trumpeter Marty Olivas and his sax-playing brother, Jimmy Olivas.
The studio and concert band includes trumpeter Lee Thornburg, who has worked with Tower of Power and Supertramp, saxophonist Doug Webb, whose credits include Rod Stewart and Horace Silver, percussionist Munyungo Jackson, who has toured with Stevie Wonder and keyboardist Corey Allen.
"I'm so excited to be working with all these great people. It's a thrill for me. I can't wait to get this show done," says Mora, whose band includes El Paso bassist Robert Vance and Mora's longtime drummer Doc Anthony.
It was the drummer's personal tragedy, the loss of a son, that inspired Mora to start writing songs with Anthony and Vance last summer.
"We did one new song a week. It took us about eight weeks, plus two months tightening them up, then we recorded them at Sonic Ranch last October," says Mora, who used a Les Paul that ZZ Top guitar man and Sonic Ranch friend Billy Gibbons helped secure.
Thornburg and Webb wrote the horn arrangements and cut their parts at B2 Studios in North Hollywood last November. "They are the best," Mora says, adding that he worked with Webb on his last Tangent album, 1995's "All That Glitters."
Jackson's percussion tracks were cut at the Djembe Studio in Los Angeles. The project was edited by Howard Steele, who'll run sound for Wednesday's show. Steele mixed the tracks with Sonic Ranch's Charles Godfrey, who engineered the project, which wasn't cheap.
"I'm flattered to have them working on my songs," Mora says. "I cut everybody loose, especially those guys. The fact that they're all coming for this show is unbelievable. I didn't think there was any way that would happen."
Mora says he learned with his last album, on which Webb and former Hiroshima vocalist Margaret "Machun" Sasaki-Taylor were featured, that it was worth it to cough up the cash for top players, studios and engineers.
"Once it got to that level, I never turned back," he says. "You've got to pay, but you get what you pay for with the pros. I've learned so much from those sessions, too."
His musical journey started as a teenager at Eastwood High School in the early 1970s, when Mora merged his love of rock (he used to wear Lennon-style wire frame glasses) with the burgeoning jazz fusion scene championed by Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock and Weather Report.
He formed Tangent several years later, and the group was a regular part of the local music scene, including residencies at former hotspots such as College Station, the Bermuda Triangle and the Surf Club.
Mora cut his first album, "On a Tangent," at Sonic Ranch in 1990 was planning to pursue music and move to Los Angeles, but put those ambitions on hold when his father died in 1992. "It was hands on the business, but I was still working diligently on music, too. I wrote it, put it out, but I missed out on some opportunities. I covered that up at the business. I'm blessed. It's going well."
The diverse "Dandelion" — its title represents music that can blow in any direction — is getting a serious commitment from its restaurateur-guitarist creator. He not only signed with Rhombus, but hired a New York-based jazz publicist and a record promoter.
It's getting some airplay on jazz stations in France, Australia, Finland and Norway, will be sold on iTunes, Amazon and other digital outlets, and is being shopped for consideration on Spotify and Rhapsody.
"It's definitely going across the pond. We'll see what happens," he says.
Mora, who says he's in his "late 50s," doesn't plan to become a road warrior to promote the album. "That's a young man's game," he says, but Mora does plan to play some shows in Los Angeles this summer.
"I'll give it all I've got," he says. "I ain't getting no younger. The good thing about jazz is I don't have to be 100 pounds and body-pierced."