I was born January 21, 1978 in Havana, Cuba and came to Miami, Florida in 1980. From birth, I was always surrounded by music. My father is also a drummer and was my first and most influential teacher. When I was younger, my father would take me to his gigs and sometimes I would sit in. I never took music seriously, though, until I started the sixth grade.
Alfredo de la Rosa was the band teacher at my middle school and also happened to know my father. When he found out I was attending the school where he taught, he pulled me out of my regular class and put me into the schoolís jazz band. I realized some of the kids there had better technique than I did, so thatís when I started to practice and never stopped.
I obtained a Bachelorís degree in Studio Music and Jazz Performance from the University of Miami in May 2002. As a student of the University of Miami, I was given the chance to play in the schoolís top ensembles.
Throughout my school years and thereafter, I was gigging regularly in Miami with local artists such as jazz legend Ira Sullivan, Latin Grammy winner Nestor Torres, as well as Sammy Figueroa, Othello Mollineux, and Eddie "GuaGua" Rivera. At the same time I also played in a great R&B/Top-forty group for three years.
Two years after graduating from UM, I decided to move to New York to seek greater opportunities. After living in New York for eight months, I heard about the auditions for Spyro Gyra. At first, I thought I missed out on a great opportunity because I knew that it was already too late to get an audition date. Then I thought I had nothing to lose, so I planned to do anything I could to get into that audition. I showed up with a friend who was scheduled for an audition and asked if there was a chance I could audition, since I was already there. And guess what? I got the gig!
The reality of the situation slowly sunk in, and Iíve never felt happier in accomplishing something. I want to thank my mom and dad for their support and encouragement.