Steve Berrios was born in uptown Manhattan in 1945 to parents who had just arrived from the island of Puerto Rico. His father, Steve Sr., was a professinal drummer with some of the major Latin dance bands of the era, including Noro Morales, Miguelito Valdez and Pupi Campo.
Steve Berrios took trumpet classes in public school although his real musical education came from his father’s records and musician friends. On the percussion side, his two greatest early influences were Willie Bobo and Julio Collazo, the legendary master of the batá drum. Steve became a percussion apprentice under Julio.
At sixteen, Steve Berrios started winning competitions with his trumpet, including five Apollo Theater first places. In high school, he became friends with his Harlem neighbor, budding pianist Larry Willis. This was the beginning of a lifelong friendship and jazz collaboration.
At age nineteen, Steve Berrios got his first steady job as house drummer with a hotel band in Manhattan thanks to his father’s recommendation. He joined Mongo Santamaria's band a few years later, playing both drum set and timbales.
In 1981, Steve Berrios became a founding member of the renowned Latin jazz group, the Fort Apache Band. He was a crucial ingredient in Fort Apache ever since. Great drummers like Max Roach and Billy Higgins regarded Steve as a master of bridging the Latin and jazz traditions.
Steve Berrios participated in more than 300 recordings with some of the finest musicians in the jazz, Latin and world music fields: Tito Puente, Paquito D'Rivera, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Michael Brecker, Grover Washington, Hilton Ruiz, and Miriam Makeba.
Steve Berrios appeared and participated in film soundtracks such as Crimes and Misdemeanors, Mo Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Latin Rhythms Applied to The Drum Set, Calle 54, and El Cantante.
Steve Berrios also led his own group called Son Bacheche.
'And Then Some!' (1997), one of the few albums he recorded at the head of his own group, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Jazz. Performance.