Debra Dobkin
Debra Dobkin
Debra Dobkin
Jim Greiner
Jim Greiner
Performer, Educator, Community & Corporate Drumming Leader
AJ Flores
AJ Flores
Touring Artist
Carlos Adames
Carlos Adames
Carlos Adames Group, The LoveMonkeys
Erik Piza
Erik Piza
Performer
Kelsey Lee
Kelsey Lee
Performer and Educator
Kevin Cooley
Kevin Cooley
Drumming Around
Arturo Sergio Solis
Arturo Sergio Solis
Grupo Zamorales
Derrick Cabral
Derrick Cabral
The Elovaters
Jose Rossy
Jose Rossy
Patti LaBelle
Chastity Ashley
Chastity Ashley
Beauty in the Breakdown
Nina Rodriguez
Nina Rodriguez
Nina Rodgriguez
Jamal  Mohamed
Jamal Mohamed
Doumbek Master, Educator & Composer
Eric Velez
Eric Velez
Marc Anthony
Jorge Ochoa
Jorge Ochoa
TamboRhythms Group Drumming
Georgie  Padilla
Georgie Padilla
Georgie Padilla & Friends
Tito  Rodriguez, Jr.
Tito Rodriguez, Jr.
Tito Rodriguez Jr. Orchestra
Mario  Grillo
Mario Grillo
Machito Orchestra
Danny Couto
Danny Couto
Ill Nino
Abdou Mboup
Abdou Mboup
Bandleader & Educator
Aaron Spears
Aaron Spears
Usher
Nelson Matthew  Gonzalez
Nelson Matthew Gonzalez
Percussionist – Teacher - Dancer
Brendan  Finnegan
Brendan Finnegan
Performer & Drum Circle Facilitator
Lucky  Lehrer
Lucky Lehrer
Performer & Educator
Darren  Evans
Darren Evans
JATT
Gumbi  Ortiz
Gumbi Ortiz
Al Di Meola & New Groove City
Danny  Shamoun
Danny Shamoun
Keyboardist, Percussionist, Drummer
Raymer Olalde
Raymer Olalde
PALO
Crystal  Vargas
Crystal Vargas
Performer
Javier  Navarrette
Javier Navarrette
Performer
Jocelyn  Alvarez
Jocelyn Alvarez
Performer & Educator
Nat Scott
Nat Scott
Performer
Christina  Torres
Christina Torres
The Mike Torres Band
Jill  Sagar
Jill Sagar
Educator & Author
Luis  Muñoz
Luis Muñoz
Composer, Arranger & Percussionist
Darius  Fentress
Darius Fentress
Fred Hammond
Dan  Egger-Belandria
Dan Egger-Belandria
Performer & Educator
Daniel  Diaz
Daniel Diaz
Performer
Oscar  D'Auria
Oscar D'Auria
Drummer, Band Leader, Educator & Author
Ernie  Becquer
Ernie Becquer
Performer
Mark Schulman
Mark Schulman
Educator, Performer & Studio Owner
Brian Kilgore
Brian Kilgore
Session Percussionist
Robin  DiMaggio
Robin DiMaggio
Composer, Producer & Percussionist
Lance  Beckford
Lance Beckford
Performer & Educator

Artist Links

Debra Dobkin percussionist can be heard on numerous recordingsspanning many different genres and live in concert from the smallest local bar in Hollywood, Ca. to the great hall at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. She has recorded and appeared in concert with Bonnie Raitt, Richard Thompson, Shawn Colvin, Jackson Browne, Don Henley, and Was (not Was), John Trudell’s Bad Dog, and Perla Batalla among many others. She is a respected instrumentalist and music producer and divides her time between playing live and recording in the studio.

www.debradobkin.com

facebook/debradobkin

twitter@debra_dobkin

Links to music samples-

http://www.debradobkin.com/music/Crazy.mp3

http://www.debradobkin.com/music/04%20Evidence.m4a

http://www.debradobkin.com/music/01%20Let%20It%20Blow.m4a

http://www.debradobkin.com/music/08%20Too%20Soon%20To%20Tell.mp3

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQLpRBDrhn8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCaD6GAQmjA

Bonnie Raitt Road Tested Live DVD

Richard Thompson 1000 Years Of Popular Music Live DVD

And Various Artists YouTube videos 

Jim Greiner is a multiple award winning, internationally acclaimed percussionist, educator and pioneering community and corporate drumming leader based in the Santa Cruz, California area.

Jim has been playing percussion for several decades, including two years in Africa where he was profoundly moved by the power of rhythm to uplift and unify people. He has dedicated his life to teaching and sharing the many benefits of playing percussion instruments with people of all ages and all walks of life as a performer, and educator and a community and recreational leader.

Through his company, Hands-On! Drumming® Events (www.HandsOnDrum.com), Jim has conducted well over 4,000 interactive, motivational drumming programs worldwide for hundreds of thousands of people in corporations, conferences, communities, schools, therapeutic centers and private celebrations of all types. Jim is renowned for using rhythm as a vehicle to reinforce positive life skills and Life Rhythms for individuals. In his community-building sessions, Jim strengthens what he calls the three “C’s” integral to creating thriving communities of all types: communicating, collaborating and celebrating.

Jim is also busy as a performing and recording percussionist. He has played a wide range of musical styles worldwide with for over 20 years with one of America’s leading corporate events bands, as well as with touring groups such as Quicksilver Messenger Service, Sista Monica Parker, the Jerry Miller Band, and others, He has also performed with club bands in well over 500 venues around the U.S.

Jim is an in-demand percussion educator, as well, and conducts his Rhythm Power® lessons and playshops worldwide.

Jim has been recognized for his pioneering rhythm work in numerous ways: he is a seven-time winner of Drum! Magazines Readers Poll Awards for his percussion teaching, and has presented well over 50 times at prestigious national and international Percussive Arts Society, at international Music Instrument trade shows, and at wellness conferences and trade shows. His work has also been featured on PBS, The Discovery Channel, NPR, the BBC, The New York Post, and in numerous other trade and consumer publications.

“Percussionist Jim Greiner invokes the primal power of rhythm to release the participants’ stress, to exercise their minds and bodies, and to bind them together in community.” – PBS special,

Healing Quest

“Jim Greiner is one of the pioneers of community drumming, and is perfectly poised to spearhead this movement. His work with corporate, community, school, and therapeutic groups

is acclaimed worldwide.” - Drum! Magazine

Percussionist AJ “Rock” Flores was born in Midland, TX in 1976 to Raymond “Kama” Flores who is a Tejano Hall of Famer. No doubt he was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps. At the age of 3, he was already rocking the living room on a miniature drum set.

By the age of 8, he took the stage for the first time with his dad playing a snare with the Tortilla Factory, then continued the trap set with his dad's bands. Now you will find him grooving with congas, bongos, and timbales or the high energy rhythms of the djembe and djun-djuns.

At the age of 18, he landed his first tour with Jennifer Pena y Los Jetz. He has since toured with Bobby Pulido, AB Quintanilla y Los Kumbia Kings, Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo MAZZ, DJ Kane, Jay Perez, Ruben Ramos and The Mexican Revolution, and Las 3 Divas (Stefani Montiel, Shelly Lares, Elida Reyna) which included a USO Tour to Japan in 2006. He has also worked with Jaime Y Los Chamacos, La Mafia, La Deferenzia, Michael Salgado, Joe Bravo, Augustine Ramirez, Sunny Ozuna, and Avizo. He has also shared the stage behind The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and Latin artist Ricky Martin.

Currently he tours with the acclaimed Drum Café where he performs, recruits, and trains African drummers. He still maintains close ties with his passion, Tejano music, recording and performing at major events.

His energy, confidence, versatility, and showmanship has made him one of the most sought after percussionists in the industry. To his credit, he is a 15 time Grammy nominee and has earned two Latin Grammy’s and two American Grammy’s of which he takes great pride. He is also an inductee in the class of 2015 Tejano Hall Of Fame. He has also been recognized by the Tejano Academy with a “Percussionist of the Year” award. He is endorsed by such companies as TOCA Percussion, Gibraltar, Vic Firth, Evans, Paiste, Taye Drums, SKB, and Basin Graphics. He attributes his top echelon success to an all-consuming passion for learning, performing, and sharing of his music

Percussionist Carlos Adames is a widely acclaimed percussionist known for his explosive soloing and inventive percussion patterns. He’s a composer, arranger and educator who has worked professionally all over the Western Hemisphere and Europe.

Mr. Adames was born into a musical family that inspired him and helped shape him as a musician, and he began playing the drums at the age of six. His South American and Caribbean roots combined with his understanding of contemporary and classical music make him a complete and skilled master musician.

Mr. Adames studied Percussion at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes of Mexico and The Conservatorio Nacional de Música de La Habana, as well as with world known percussionists such as Miguel "Angá" Diaz, Jesús Alfonso Miró, Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, Lamim Thiam, and many others.

His musical journey is a personal quest to explore and create new sounds and rhythmic fusions, and his playing is characterized by innovation, energy and pure heart.

It all started as a kid, growing up in North Jersey, Erik had a passion for music with the influence of his father, who bought Erik a set of bongos at the age of 4. His first act was playing at his church and for his friends.

Later in his teens, Erik started collaborating with other young musicians from high school, who had the same passion for music and performing arts. There, he joined a band of local young guys that played Salsa music and performed locally and throughout the tristate area. From there, his musical talent grew and Erik was quickly noticed by professional musicians. They began to take him under their wings and show him the ropes.

Time passed, and things got very interesting for him when Erik was offered to travel and perform with a professional band. It was a breakthrough being so young. Even though he was young (accompanied by an adult to perform), he could perform at clubs and dance halls throughout New Jersey and New York City.

Erik was determined to perform with all his musical influences after gaining experience, things went to the next level, Erik began to perform with some of the biggest names in the music industry.

One day the phone rang, he got a call to perform with Jose Alberto “El Canario” through a recommendation of a friend. For 6 years he traveled the world playing for “El Canario”

After that he had the opportunity to perform with the great Yankee Legend Bernie Williams in his all-star band. He has been a member of that band for eight years now.

Erik has also dedicated his life to professional audio recording engineering. He has recorded for top Latin artists in the world and received a Grammy nomination. Erik's musical influences are very wide within different genres of music. He is also one of the most sought out Latin percussionist in New York City because of his versatility and ability to adapt to all styles. One of Erik's favorite quotes is: “Music is not only a way of expression, it is also a way of life.”

Born and raised in Louisville, Kelsey picked up her first pair of sticks and mallets at the age of five and has yet to put them down. A member of the prestigious local group previously known as the Fabulous Leopard Percussionists from kindergarten to 6th grade, her tenure included performances at the Kentucky and Indiana State Music Educators Association Conventions, the Atlanta International Band and Orchestra Convention, the Kentucky chapter of the Percussive Arts Society Day of Percussion, and the 1999 International Association for Jazz Education Convention in New Orleans.

After aging out of the Fabulous Leopards, Kelsey continued her percussion studies through private lessons while at DuPont Manual High School and the Youth Performing Arts School focusing her skills on the marimba, snare drum, and Latin percussion studies. She became a member of the YPAS Percussion Ensemble which led to her performing at the 2004 Percussive Arts Society International Convention and the 2007 Bands of America conference in Indianapolis. She also participated in all-county and all-state bands during her middle and high school years and earned distinguished ratings for her performances at the annual Kentucky Music Educators’ Association convention. Outside of her formal education, Kelsey played in the University of Louisville pep band, her church and various special events around town.


Kelsey is an assistant director for the Leopards and co-leads the beginner group. She assists in the direction of the Leopards’ experience group, Leopards Lite, and co-directs the Steel Leopards. Kelsey has been endorsed by Toca Percussion Company (2010) and Sabian Cymbals and has performed with world-renowned musicians including CJ Vanston, Michael Fitzpatrick, Victor Mendoza, Dani Markham, Dan Dorff, Jerry Steinholtz, Hannah Ford Welton, Louie Bellson, Ruben Alvarez, and Ndugu Chancler. She had the pleasure of opening for Bruno Mars, Carlene Carter, and the 2014 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards with the Southern Sirens.
When she’s not busy molding the minds of many young musicians and performing, Kelsey enjoys hula hooping and fire juggling. A graduate from Indiana University Southeast with a degree in Elementary Education, she volunteers for the WHAS Crusade for Children and teaches drum clinics and leads drum circles to non-profit organizations and schools. In addition to teaching Leopards and giving private percussion lessons, she performs and travels with The Southern Sirens while serving as a guest performer for many local musicians with various musical styles, ranging from Latin to Rock to Bluegrass and more. Kelsey’s most recent venture has been playing percussion in another all-girl band, Bungalow Betty. You can visit her webpage at kelseyleedrums.weebly.com/

Kevin Cooley has been a professional musician for over thirty years and has performed in many different musical settings. After years of performing Kevin decided it was time to share his love of music, his love of people, and his belief in music’s ability to heal and bring people together in unique ways. In 2008, Kevin founded Drumming Around; a company dedicated to providing drum circle activities designed to meet specific community-building, corporate training and wellness goals. Drumming Around programs can be seen in retirement communities, public and private schools, conference rooms, public and school libraries, church retreats, community centers, and wellness groups. In addition to drum circle facilitation, Kevin continues to maintain a very active performance schedule.

“As a performer, I need the best sounding instruments I can find. As a drum circle facilitator, the instruments I use need to maintain a balance between great sound, durability, and price point. Toca Percussion fills all of those needs!”

—Kevin Cooley

Arturo Sergio Solis was raised in Laredo, TX. He’s been in the music scene since he was 11 years old and began playing the congas when he was 14. He has used Toca drums ever since.

Arturo has worked with great Tejano/Norteno bands and tours all over the US and Mexico. Some bands include: Grupo Masizzo, Latin Grammy Winner - Michael Salgado, and the King of Tejano Music -Emilio Navaira.

Three years ago, Arturo joined Grupo Zamorales, founded by Latin Grammy nominees Jose Zamora and Efrain Morales. They have recently released a new album and the group has been nominated for Best Norteno Album of the Year at the 2016 Tejano Music Awards.

Arturo currently resides in San Antonio, TX. 

Derrick Cabral is a Boston-based Percussionist with an intense passion for all genres of music. His ability to incorporate hand percussion into various styles of music has molded him into the diverse percussionist he is today. Enriched with over 10 years of live performances, he has continued to refine his skills and stage presence.

Derrick studied with the notable Johnny Conga who is known for his work with artists like Santana, Sergio Mendes, Eddie Palmieri and Gloria Gaynor. As a member of the reggae band The Elovaters, Derrick has played throughout the States and performed at multiple festivals both in the US and in the Caribbean. He has shared the stage with numerous artists including Akon, Ziggy Marley, The Wailers, John Brown’s Body and Stick Figure. The latest release with The Elovaters entitled “The Cornerstone” landed at #2 on the iTunes Reggae Chart and #9 on Billboard’s Top Reggae Album Chart the week of its release.

Aside from being in The Elovaters, Derrick is the percussionist for Lift Ministries, a Boston-based ministry group that hosts and conducts praise and worship events throughout New England. Also, as the percussionist for the Jon Niven band, he has performed from coast to coast at several Catholic conferences. In addition to live performances, Derrick is also sought after for studio sessions by various musical acts in the New England area who seek to incorporate his flavorful style into their music. You can find The Elovaters on Facebook @TheElovaters.

Jose Rossy is a percussionist known for his mastery with dozens of eclectic instruments. He has worked with artists such as Patti LaBelle, Talking Heads, Robert Palmer, and Weather Report. In his hometown of Humacao, Puerto Rico, Jose's love of music originally began with playing the clarinet as a child. After an unfortunate car accident that made his teeth and lips too damaged to play, Jose’s music teacher, German Peña, encouraged him to take up percussion. From here, Jose’s success exploded. He went on to college where he auditioned for Pablo Casals’ Puerto Rican Conservatory for Music in San Juan, and after just a year at the conservatory he was invited to join the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra. He played there from 1972 to 1975 before travelling to New York City.

Jose only needed to perform a single audition to prove his expertise: a tryout for LaBelle in New York, 1975. Out of numerous applicants, Jose Rossy was chosen, and he joined Patti LaBelle, Nona Hendrix, Sarah Dash, Bud Ellison, Eddie Martinez, Carmen Rojas, and Tony Thompson on tour from 1977 until the group dissolved. Jose quickly became a popular session man and recorded with a wide range of artists, from Bryan Eno and David Byrne to Cameo and Sesame Street. Then, from 1981 to 1984, Jose joined Weather Report, working on three albums and appearing on many future compilations and collections. From here he was picked up, toured, and recorded with Robert Palmer, Sonia Dada, and Patti LaBelle, with whom he recorded the Grammy-winning “One Night Only.”

While touring in Canada, Jose Rossy got married and took a break from touring, joining the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra while making regular trips to New York for performances. He later moved with his new family back to the United States, completed the last few hours necessary for his bachelor’s degree in music, and spent 3 years teaching music to grades K-12. Jose went back to playing music when he joined and performed with Jambón, an R&B group comprised of former members of Sonia Dada, Weather Report, and Liquid Soul. The group released an album May 29, 2009.

Jose Rossy is currently touring with Patti LaBelle again as of August 2014. In between tour dates, Jose comes back to his family and teaches, performs, and records music for a number of different artists. You can see Jose's tour schedule on his website http://www.joserossy.com/ 

Chastity Ashley hits like a girl, and the world is much better for it. The renowned percussionist (Duran Duran, Tom Morello, Cypress Hill) takes her talents center stage in her formidable electro-pop outfit Beauty In The Breakdown and the results are electrifying.

Half a decade working with a ‘who’s who’ of rock & pop’s most successful musicians has enabled Chastity to absorb a unique range of influences that create an arresting brand of intelligent pop music. Debut EP “NEON” (2015) received rave reviews from Music Connection, who hailed Chastity's “Weapons-Grade" percussion effects, and earned them “Best Dance Song” in the prestigious Hollywood Music in Media Awards.

This east-LA girl of Mexican/Apache descent radiates warmth and positivity in person, so it’s no surprise that her music is bound together within an ethos of letting go of your inhibitions and connecting with those that bring out the best in you. Beauty In The Breakdown have a contagious enthusiasm and consider it their mission to spread this message with as many people as possible. 2017 could certainly do with some positivity and Beauty In The Breakdown are here to deliver.

"I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with Chastity, [her] boundless energy added an exciting and vibrant element to our shows and her expert percussion playing helped keep our audiences on their feet night after night. It's so great to see her coming into her own as an artist and sharing her music with the world. We're looking forward to hearing what she has in store!"

- John Taylor, DURAN DURAN

Nina Rodriguez is a nationally celebrated, Grammy-winning percussionist, musical performer, clinician and educator. Her extraordinary energy and dedication to the power of music, drumming and performance has shaped her career as a lead Facilitator with Drum Cafe and a celebrated independent musician.

Through Drum Café, Nina has inspired thousands of Fortune 1,000 employees from all sectors of Healthcare to Banking, Technology and more, including those from Microsoft, Levis, Gap, Universal Music Group, NBC, Google, Amazon and scores of school districts throughout the US. She is an endorsed artist for Toca Percussion, Vic Firth and Gibralter.

Nina uses Toca Freestyle Djembes, Djun Djuns, Timbales, Congas, Cajon and a variety of hand percussion. The authenticity, tone, pitch and extreme attention to detail make these products kick! Her interactive audiences love the Toca Freestyle Djembes. Their unique colorful designs, along with their lightweight and durable construction, make them a perfect fit for her drumming participants.

Born in Lebanon and raised in Chicago, Jamal Mohamed takes advantage of his wide cultural experiences, transporting them into diverse musical experiences which include live and studio work with Sting, Mark O'Connor and Giovanni Hidalgo. These are but a few of his credits, augmenting a long list of recordings for film and television documentaries and specials. In addition, Jamal is a widely acclaimed educator and clinician whose work has carried him literally across the globe: numerous percussion appearances in Bali and Jakarta festivals, opera soloist spots in Hong Kong and Beijing, and a variety of rhythmic roles from Yukon to Mexico City.

Jamal takes special interest in the oppressed and disabled and, in respect of those worthy causes, has done numerous benefits in correctional and music therapy institutions. Addressing the latter, in 1986, he formed Arts for People, which aids challenged individuals to this day.

Jamal Mohamed also appears in several ensembles including Brahma, D-Drum, and Beledi, performing rhythmic backdrops for world and dance companies. Jamal is currently a resident instructor at the Southern Methodist University and the Meadows School of Fine Arts.

Aside from his array of Toca percussion instruments, Jamal is acknowledged as a master doumbek craftsman and, in addition, builds many of his own instruments. Jamal also worked closely with Toca's Product Development team to design the Toca Jamal Doumbek, an antique silver-colored drum with many features that are sought out by players worldwide. Often, such instruments serve him well, witness diverse film credits ranging from the lore of ancient Egypt to the grassroots blues of Robert Johnson. Incredibly diverse stylistically, Mohamed is a composer, performer, session musician, music therapist, clinician, and drum circle facilitator.

Jamal Mohamed brings an extensive discography and, quite literally, a world of rhythmic and cultural experience to the Toca artist team.

Eric Velez is one of the most respected Latino percussionists of his generation. He is of Puerto Rican descent, and was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. Eric learned to play congas, bongos, and timbales at the young age of three with the assistance of his brother. His first musical performance was with Grupo Fascinacion at the age of fifteen.  At the age of seventeen, Eric played with Eddie Palmieri and in 1993 made his first recording with Marc Anthony for the movie soundtrack “Carlito’s Way.”  In 1996, Eric continued to record under RMM Records with producer Isidro Infante. Eric also traveled with the RMM Band, featuring Tito Puente. In 1997, Eric joined Marc Anthony’s band and later that year performed for President Clinton’s 1997 Inaugural Ceremony.  A year later, Eric recorded with Celia Cruz.  In 1999, Eric joined D.L.G. and also recorded with various artists under record producer Sergio George.

Between 2000 and 2004, Eric performed with Marc Anthony on two tours, several TV shows, including Jay Leno, as well as the HBO Special: Marc Anthony the Concert. In 2005, Eric joined the “Juntos en Concierto Tour” featuring Marc Anthony. Later that year, Eric and his brother, Joe Juicy Jusino recorded a Salsa CD titled, “Juicy and Eric – Huracan.” In 2006, Eric went on another “Juntos en Concierto Tour 2” featuring Marc Anthony.  In October, Eric recorded with Marc Anthony for “Marc Anthony in Tenerife.”  In 2007, Eric continued to play with Marc Anthony and also began playing percussion with Jennifer Lopez and appeared on American Idol and David Letterman.  The following year, Drum! Magazine named Eric “Runner-up for Percussion Rising Star.”  

In 2009, Toca Percussion launched the Eric Velez Signature Series Congas and Bongos. In October, Eric returned to the White House and performed with Marc Anthony for the “Fiesta Latina” performance. Eric has received many renowned distinctions, including another award by Drum! Magazine in 2009.  He was named “Live Percussionist of the Year,” “Runner-up Percussionist of the Year,” “Runner-up Latin Percussionist of the Year,” and “Runner-up Percussion Product of the Year.”  In 2010, Eric’s influence was significantly recognized once again when he was awarded Drum! Magazine’s “Runner-up Live Performer of the Year” and “Runner-up Latin Percussionist of the Year.”  In May 2011, Eric performed with Marc Anthony during the season finale of American Idol. Once again, his accomplishments were recognized when Eric received the award for “Runner-up Latin Percussionist of the Year” by Drum! Magazine.

In 2012, Eric performed with Marc Anthony during the finale of Q’Viva: The Chosen. In June, Eric played for President Obama at the “Latinos for Obama Fundraiser” at the Jackie Gleason Theater.  That same year, Eric received an award by Drum! Magazine as “Runner-up Latin Percussionist of the Year.”  Eric toured this summer with the “GIGANT3S Tour” featuring Marc Anthony. He will be ending the year in Latin America with the “GIGANT2S Tour” featuring Marc Anthony.  

Jorge Ochoa, OTR is an occupational therapist and group drumming facilitator in San Antonio, TX. He is the founder of TamboRhythms, a company dedicated to promoting FUNctional living through rhythmic expression regardless of age or previous musical experience. He has facilitated at schools/learning centers, worked with seniors and those with special needs, and has provided adult and community education programs. Clients have included EVA's Heroes and the Texas Dept. Of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (Division for Blind Services). He has also served his community by leading free family-friendly community drum circles . 

Jorge has appeared in the San Antonio Express News, Our Kids San Antonio, Natural Awakenings, and The Autism Notebook publications. 

Born in New York City in 1960 and raised in Guayanilla, Puerto Rico, Georgie Padilla has been a professional percussionist, arranger, vocalist and music teacher for more than 40 years. He began playing at the age of twelve and was one of the first leaders as well as tutors for Guayanilla's School Band's percussion section. Shortly after, he played with Nelson Feliciano and KitoVelez.

Padilla has a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from the Interamericana University of Puerto Rico and a Master Degree in Music specialized in Latin Music Performing from Texas State University.

Georgie has performed and traveled worldwide with Elías Lopés and Company, Jesús Caunedo's Puertorrican Jazz, Los Saxofones de Mayaguez, Frankie Ruíz, Sonora Ponceña, Danny Rivera, Lucecita Benitez, Jose Nogueras, Bobby Valentin, Jerry Rivera, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz and various international artists such as Soledad Bravo, Isabel Pantojas just to name a few. He also participated in Cheo Feliciano's live recordings and video productions at the Tropicana Club in Cuba.

Padilla had recorded on many of Jerry Rivera's productions. His latest recording for Jerry, “El Amor Existe” reached #3 on Billboards Tropical Music genre. His impressive list of recording and arrangement credits also include, Guianko, Cheo Feliciano, Ricardo Visuete, Tito Gomez, Choco Orta, Jandy Feliz, Gilberto Santarosa, Pedro De Jesús, Hector Ivan Rivera and a host of other Latin Jazz luminaries. Recently, Georgie performed in Richard Oppenheim’s latest CD Greenhorn in a Red State.

Padilla had worked as an adjunct faculty at Northwest Vista College, teacher assistant at Texas State University and percussion professor at Brookhaven College in Dallas. Now that he is back in San Antonio teaching at Northwest Vista College. Georgie offers private lessons of Afro Caribbean rhythms. Also, he gives support to young local groups with arrangements and improving their performances. In the meantime, Georgie is the arranger and co-producer for Hector Ivan Rivera’s recordings in Puerto Rico, performs with his jazz group “Georgie Padilla & Friends” and conducts The BISA Orchestra (Boricuas in San Antonio) and Los Tres Del Tambor on special events.

Please visit: www.youtube.com/geoconga

Some say the great age of the Palladium ballroom and Latin jazz bands is dead. The proof is in the demise of the dance halls, starting with the Palladium, formerly in midtown Manhattan at 53 Street and Broadway. However, the era is being kept alive in more than spirit by a handful of musicians. One of the most prominent is Tito Rodriguez, Jr., whose father led one of the most revered bands in the history of the "golden era".

Born in New York,  and tutored by his father, young Tito took up drums at age nine. For a nascent bandleader, timbales were a necessity and Tito Jr. learned the authentic techniques on rims and heads to the point where he was able to tour with the Tito Rodriguez Orchestra. This he did in the late sixties and seventies, during which he became familiar with the exciting arrangements and more showbiz requirements. In 1975, Tito Jr. enrolled in Berklee; he moved south and, a few years later, earned a BA in music theory from the University of Miami.

With help from Ruben Blades, Tito produced his first album, Curious, under the banner of the Tito Rodriguez Jr. Orchestra. By 1994, the ensemble had toured extensively and released a second album, Eclipse, scoring a hit dance single. Then the momentous meeting occurred: Tito Rodriguez Jr., Mario Grillo (son of Machito) and Tito Puente, Jr. The resulting Big 3 Orchestra has traveled the world supporting the album The Big 3: Live at The Blue Note.

Following his dad's footsteps, in 2006 Tito, Jr. laid the foundation for his own record company: TRJR. The label is Latin friendly and artist friendly and, if his father's private label success is anything to gauge by, TRJR will be a runaway favorite of Latin music fans and musicians.

Like his father, Tito Rodriguez, Jr. ably leads his orchestra from behind his pair of timbales. Even though It is difficult these days to keep a big band fed and working, simply due to economic exigencies, there are calls for a return of the great Latin jazz era. Tito has been successful-and credible-in responding due to his blood ties with the past. Expect more from the label TRJR, including more solo Rodriguez albums and new titles from "The Big 3". 

Back in the Forties, Fifties and Sixties, American urban culture in big cities spiked with the introduction of Latin-jazz big bands. When reminiscing about the "age of Mambo" and the Palladium Ballroom, a few names especially come to mind, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, and Machito. The trilogy was constantly engaged in friendly competition for stature and fan base. Machito, the famed Cuban bandleader/maraca player, caused a mini-revolution in music and dance. It would be a long shot but intriguing to suggest that, since Machito was among the first to encourage jazz-style improvisation, he prepared his musicians and fans for the advent of bebop. Certainly, his penchant for electric performances was designed to get everyone dancing.

Today, thanks to Toca artist Mario Grillo there still is a direct link, a blood link. Mario is, in fact, the son of Machito, who was born Francisco Raul Gutierrez Grillo. As the apple never falls far from the tree, Mario has made his calling the revival of his father's legacy in the form of fresh, contemporary ensembles including The Big 3 Palladium Orchestra. The band is staffed with musicians from the original bands in addition to the next generation of musicians from the Puente and Rodriguez families-who brought to the new band their fathers' original music charts. Mario Grillo ably leads all. Since the nineties he has toured the world, revisiting some of the spots where Machito's orchestra reigned.

Mario Grillo is old enough to have caught the tail end of the mambo craze, and to have played with his father, yet young enough to absorb the trends that have turned the music industry inside out. A purist at heart, he is nevertheless open to contemporary developments such as DJ and turntable artists-and the rearranging of his father's musical book. A drummer-percussionist from the New York area, he has studied with the biggest names in history: Henry Adler (who co-wrote a book with Buddy Rich), Ted Reed, Joel Rothman, and Sam Ulano. Mario is a performer and also a respected clinician. Mario gets his signature rimshot and shell tones from Toca instruments. He is a firm leader and, in his father's tradition, insists on a band that looks as elegant as it sounds.

For more information on Mario and his band, please visit: machitoorchestranyc.com

Born in Brazil and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Daniel Couto is percussionist for the band Ill Nino. An artist whose role encompasses playing stadium rock and indigenous rhythms on a range of hand and stick percussion instruments, Danny can also cover on drum set. In fact, his first musical participation was on the kit, playing in a garage band with his brother. His first pro unit was a band called Point 4 Hope. Eventually he came to the attention of Dave Chavarri, drummer for Ill Nino. In 2003, Danny joined the ranks of the Latin/heavy rock band, replacing Roger Vasquez, and braced for a quick climb to the top.

Influenced by a vast number of Afro-Cuban artists playing everything from Samba to Salsa, Danny also took substantial inspiration from cutting edge rock artists of his youth, including Smashing Pumpkins, Rage Against the Machine, and similar blunt edged acts playing creative music on the periphery of pop. Thus his percussion contributions are atypical, feeding equally from metal, roots and Latin.

In terms of choice of percussion, Danny's demands differ from those of the club date percussionist. Aesthetics and authentic tone are important, but mic-friendliness and durability are essential. Speaking of the latter, Toca Percussion survives Couto's extreme tests of roadworthiness night after night.

A charter member of the Toca artist team, Daniel finds his voice in the pages of the vast Toca catalog, and has baptized various instruments on tours of Europe, Mexico, South America, North America-virtually everywhere.

Abdou Mboup was born in the small town of Kebemer, Senegal to a family of oral historians and musicians. Having studied traditional drumming under the tutelage of his family, Abdou soon became a key figure in the development of the Mbalax style (Senegalese dance music). In fact in the early 1970s, he was the first musician to incorporate various traditional instruments into Senegalese popular music. A few years later, he joined the renowned Dakar based group Xalam, which he toured Europe and Africa under the patronage of South African trumpeter, Hugh Masekela.

By the 1980s, Abdou was living and working in Paris, There he attracted the attention of the American trumpeter Jon Hassell, with whom he recorded and performed at the 1982 Womad festival in London, England. Soon thereafter, he became the percussionist of Eddy Louiss a French organ player and also a master with whom he toured and recorded for the next ten years. Concurrently, Abdou taught percussion at Loisirs and Culture music school in Soisy Sous Momerency, France and founded the jazz fusion band Sixun.

In the years to come, Abdou’s career has only expanded. He has toured and recorded in Africa, Europe, America, Southeastern Asia, Japan, Nepal and India. From the 1990s until now, Abdou has written original composition for Jean Luc Ponty, Pharoah Sanders Tom Tom Club, and Randy Weston.

As a player, he has collaborated with Harry Belafonte, Nina Simone, Michel Petrucciani, Kenny Barron, Joe Zawinul Syndicate, Richard Galliano, Toots Thielemans, David Murray, Joe Lovano, Billy Higgins, Tom Tom Club, Ron Carter, Joe Chambers, Buster Williams, Chico Freeman, Bob Stewart, George Cables, Craig Harris, Steve Turre, Jon Faddis, Jason Moran, Regina Carter, Bill Laswell, Wycliffe Gordon, Elio Villafranca, Jon Lurie, Michel Portal, Claude Nougaro, Didier Malherbe, Johnny Clegg, Angeilque Kidjo, Africa Bambata Ronny Jordan.

Abdou Mboup taught World Music Rhythm at the New School University, New York and lives in Union City, NJ. He is the leader of his own band WAAKAW, meaning “country boys” in his native Wolof.

Aaron Spears has carved out a niche and is enjoying a reputation as one of the most exciting, innovative drummers in R & B and gospel. A winner of the Modern Drummer magazine readers' poll 2006 in the Up & Coming category, he was a stunning performer-some say their favorite-at the 2006 Modern Drummer Festival Weekend. In the Newark Performing Arts Center, Aaron teamed up with contemporary and veteran gospel exponents in a rousing ensemble. When it came time for his solo spot, Aaron simply lifted the roof off the elegant concert hall, juxtaposing diverse timbres and techniques in a manner that had the crowd standing; it was pure electricity.

A Washington, DC native, Aaron began drumming in the Pentecostal church, where he learned the importance of dynamics-always the supreme challenge in places of worship. At age 27, he joined the Gideon Band, which as its name suggests, was a unit infused with religious spirit. The group rocked hard and created a stir with its unique brand of fusion. The word came to Valdez Brantley, musical director of Usher, and the rest is, as they say, history. Aaron Spears joined Usher, contributed to their platinum recording Confessions and appeared on the 2005 Grammy Awards. A world wide stint with Usher's Funk Rock Orchestra and a position with the summer tour of American Idol solidified his place in the drumming hierarchy. But make no mistake: Aaron Spears is no jobbing drummer like you've ever seen. His chops, relentless groove, and unique sense of placement make him one of the special drummers of his generation.

Part of this "placement" concept is Aaron's imaginative use of Toca percussion, both as exclamations, as in his blocks/timbale, and as integral parts of the groove, as in the tambourines. The tambourine, of course, is a staple in churches across the southern states-something that every aspiring gospel drummer ought to remember and incorporate in lieu of that extra tom!

Usher's drummer points to God for inspiration and also lists secular drum set heroes including Teddy Campbell, Dennis Chambers, Vinnie Colaiuta, Steve Smith, Steve Gadd, Papa Jo Jones, Travis Barker, and Stewart Copeland. Particularly important is Gerald Heyward, the gospel drumming stalwart, who mentored Aaron and also brought the young drummer to the attention of the Usher organization.

Bronx native Nelson Matthew Gonzalez was raised in a musical family. His grandfather, Benny Ayala, is a seasoned Plenero composer and folklorist. As a young child, Matthew was surrounded by Afro-Caribbean rhythms of Puerto Rican folkloric music. He began formally studying music at the Harbor Conservatory in East Harlem, New York at age eleven.

Since then, Matthew has become accomplished in playing conga, bongo and timbales. He is currently studying conga and bongo with George Delgado and Afro-Cuban folkloric drumming with Louis Bauzo. He has also demonstrated great ability at teaching younger students.

Matthew is equally gifted as a dancer and has been a member of Danza Fiesta for over ten years. He also has his own band, Cumbalaya, and has performed with many artists including Los Pleneros de la 21, Aurora Flores, Zon de Barrio, David Kada, La Salsera Sol, Hector Tricoche, Eugene Marlow and the Heritage Ensemble, Arturo O'Farrill, Chino Ramos and His Orchestra,  and Jessica Rodriguez y La Malanga. He is currently playing percussion with six-time Grammy-nominated musician Bobby Sanabria and his Big Band.

World percussionist, educator, and drum circle facilitator Brendan Finnegan’s love of drumming has lead to a fulfilling life and successful career in music for more than 10 years. A graduate of Berklee College of Music, Brendan has also studied percussion in Africa and Brazil. He has performed around the world as an orchestra member aboard cruise ships.

Brendan is the founder of the program “Your World Drum Circles” and works extensively with special-needs adults, seniors, and corporate groups. In 2012, Brendan’s “Drumming and the Mind” program was selected to be part of the award-winning Lifelong Learning Program at the Glen Cove Senior Center in Long Island, New York. He also presents as an artist-in-residence in NYC area schools and library programs.

An avid performer, Brendan has performed with BatukAxe featuring Marcus Santos, Joe Galeota’s JAG Drum, Dance Ensemble featuring Dorothy Masuka and the Boston University Dance Theater Group. Playing with these distinguished groups led to performances at such notable events as PASIC, The Berklee Performance Center, Lowell Folk Festival and the Beantown Jazz Fest.

 

At age 11, when most kids were listening to the Strawberry Alarm Clock and the Grass Roots, Lucky Lehrer was studying Rumba, Cha-Cha and other Latin rhythms. “My drum teacher played at a hip night club on the Sunset Strip,” Lucky remembers. “He showed me the basics, along with the Bosa Nova and Mambo, and I didn't look back.” Lucky imported those grooves to re-define hard core drumming in such legendary bands as The Circle Jerks, Bad Religion, The Darby Crash Band and L.A.’s Wasted Youth. “Listen to any style of music I play or have recorded and you’ll always hear the Afro-Cuban influence.”  
 
Lucky is the only punk drummer to have his picture on the wall of fame at the Professional Drum Shop in Hollywood, California. He is endorsed and sponsored by the leading drum and percussion companies and has his own signature drum sticks. One of his early kits is immortalized and on display, behind glass, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas.  
 
"You’ll find me in the front row whenever there’s the chance to see a great Latin percussionist," Lucky confides. His particular favorites are Luis Conte and Ronnie Gutierrez. Lucky’s greatest praise goes to his own "Master," veteran L.A. session drummer Joey Heredia. "Joey is the most versatile drummer I know, and has got me playing everything from Street Claves and Songos to Neo-sambas. Now he’s reinventing Flamenco Music, adding a full kit including snare drum, bass drum and tom-toms."
 
"I love the improvisational spirit of Latin music," Lucky says. He’s proud of his collection of Latin percussion, which includes Toca bata drums, rattles and shakers, nine different cowbells, congas, cajons, bongos, timbales, cabasas and a guiro.

 

Born July 16, 1967, in Sydney, Australia, Darren Evans first started playing drums and percussion at the age of twelve in his school band. Soon after, he began studying drumming and percussion with Harold Ripper in Melbourne. Later, he discovered the professional world of music by forming bands and playing at clubs throughout Melbourne.

In 2000, Darren joined Tom Misner (the owner of the School of Audio Engineering and 301 Studios) for recording sessions at 301 Studios along with live performances at various venues throughout NSW and Queensland, Australia. Darren also partnered with Murray Burns (Mi-Sex) creating session soundtracks for various television commercials and documentaries for companies such as Sun Herald and Queensland University.

Evans has worked with Pete Murray and Jeff Martin of The Tea Party. His playing can also be heard on numerous recordings including Thousand Needles in Red and Jeff Martin 777. His live performance credits include Brian Cadd, Irwin Thomas (Jack Jones), Jeff Martin and Mi-Sex, The 9th Annual Led Zeppelin Whole Lotta Love Australian National Tour, to name a few.

Believing that music is a percussive based journey, Darren recently founded JATT and with the help of some amazing, and influential people, he’s been able to bring the music of JATT to life.

 

The music of Gumbi Ortiz (pronounced Goom-bi) combines his rich Puerto Rican/Cuban heritage with a lifetime of eclectic musical influences and experiences from Jazz/Fusion, Pop, Funk to Retro-Soul. One night back in 1987, fusion guitar legend Al Di Meola saw him jamming at a club in St. Petersburg, Florida, and invited him to play with him. Over the last 25 years, he’s been performed thousands of gigs with Di Meola from Europe, Asia to South America and Africa.

“I have played with a lot of wonderful musicians over the years including Jeff Berlin, Jay Beckinstein, Scott Ambush, Chick Corea, Dave Weckl, Barry Miles, Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal to name just a few. But I think my favorite part of these experiences has not been the great music as much as the friendships I have had along the way,” says the South Bronx native Ortiz.

Gumbi has performed master classes and clinics all over the world, and recently formed a new group New Groove City.

 

Danny Shamoun's musical journey began in his childhood home in Detroit, Michigan, where the sounds of Arabic, Turkish and Greek music first sparked his love for rhythm and melody.  He got his first drum set at age four, and some years later, his older sister exposed him to her tape collection, which ranged from old Motown to Metal. These eclectic influences fed his passion further and he dedicated his days to practicing drums, adding included doumbeck, djembe and congas to his repertoire of instruments.  In the years to follow, Danny began playing Greek clubs in the Detroit area while working at a local recording studio.
        
In 2004, Danny relocated to Los Angeles to pursue music. He immersed himself in the scene, working as a percussionist with Middle Eastern musicians like Joseph Krikorian and Andy Madadian. One night, in Oakland, Danny was invited on stage at a System of a Down concert by drummer John Dolmayan. This moment would mark the beginning of Danny's relationship with S.O.A.D. guitarist and songwriter, Daron Malakian.   

Shamoun soon found himself working with Scars on Broadway, Malakian's new project. He recorded keyboards and percussion on their debut, self-titled album (Interscope, 2008). The band toured the US and Europe in support of this record and have shared stages with the likes of Metallica, Deftones and The Raconteurs, to name a few. In 2009, they travelled to Iraq and Kuwait to play eight concerts for the US troops, a rare opportunity for Danny to both show support for his country, and pay homage to his Middle Eastern roots.

Since then, Shamoun has played live and recorded with musicians like Billy Ray Cyrus, Trey Spruance, Jesse Hughes, Roy Mayorga, Mikey Doling , Dominic Ciffarelli  and Syrian singer Bashar Yohanoun. He has also toured the West Coast with The Wailers as percussionist with the Al Anderson and Junior Marvin line up. He resides in Burbank, California, and continues to work with Scars on Broadway and various artists in a wide range of genres from all over the globe.

 

Raymer Olalde was born in Remedios, Cuba, a small town in the Villa Clara province. Raymer comes from a musical family; his father and uncle are professional trumpet players and they introduced him to all genres of music ranging from classical to popular Cuban music. He developed a passion for music very early in life and often accompanied his father to popular parrandas, musical carnivals native to his community.

At the age of nine, he attended the "Escuela Vocacional de Arte" in Santa Clara, Cuba studying percussion for five years. Later, he attended the "Escuela Nacional de Arte" in Havana for four years where he graduated with a Degree in Percussion. His studies included mastery of all percussion instruments including: timbales, congas, drums, minor percussion instruments (bongos, maracas, guiro, clave) and symphonic percussion (xylophone, tympani, marimba, vibraphone). Although the school's curriculum was based on classical music, teachers and students introduced Raymer to other styles of music such as popular Cuban music, including jazz, hip hop and Latin American music. After graduating, Raymer remained in school as part of the faculty teaching for five years. During these years he also worked professionally with popular bands such as Septeto Mi Son, Sabrosura Viva, Quinteto Diapason, Habana Ensemble and Manolin el Medico de la Salsa.

In September 1999, Raymer moved to the United States and established himself in Miami where he continued his career as a professional percussionist. He soon became one of the must popular percussionists in Miami working with artists such as Celia Cruz, Cachao, Rey Ruiz, Willy Chirino, Marisela Verena, Luis Enrique, Hector Tricoche, Luis Bofil, Jose Conde, Isaac Delgado, Paulo FG and Enrique Iglesias. He is a founding member of Grammy nominated band Tiempo Libre and recorded their first CD called Timbiando. Raymer also had the honor of recording on the Latin Grammy Award Winning CD, Fuzionando by Oscar de Leon.

In July 2003, Raymer joined producer Steve Roitstein and singer/songwriter Leslie Cartaya in their idea to create a musical group that would mix Afro-Cuban music with American Funk. Cartaya and Roitstein wrote the songs and asked fellow musicians Raymer Olalde, Philbert Armenteros and Ed Calle to join them in this musical trip. Together they came up with the record "This is Afrocuban Funk" catalogued by The New York Post as "Cuban music for the new generation". Today PALO! is one of the must popular groups in Miami, and this success has taken the group to other cities like Chicago, Boston and New York.

With many years of experience and the honor of playing with world-renowned musicians and bands, Raymer Olalde has become a master of the percussion. His energetic playing and amazing musicianship has won him an important place in the development of the Latin music scene today.

 

New Jersey native Crystal Vargas came by her love of percussion naturally and early. “I started playing around the age of four,” she says. “My dad, Glen Vargas, is a bass player, and whenever his band would rehearse at our house I’d bang on the congas and bongos any chance I got. I just loved the sound!”

Crystal continued developing her percussion skills through her teenage years, eventually getting the opportunity to perform with professional bands and artists in the NYC/New Jersey area. Her first high-visibility gig came in 2008, when she was hired to play percussion on live appearances by Latin pop sensation Kat DeLuna. “I was hired to play with Kat under the direction of Robert Aaron for about a year. I had met Robert earlier, when he performed with Wyclef Jean at my alma mater, Rutgers University. I sneaked backstage and got chance to play that night! I've been friends with Robert ever since.”

While touring with Kat Deluna, Crystal appeared on the “Live With Regis And Kelly” TV show, as well as at the 50th Grammy Anniversary Concert, a benefit show for the Jorge Posada Foundation, and a number of private events.

More recently Crystal recorded two tracks on congas for Wyclef Jean’s upcoming album, If I Were President: The Haitian Experience. She also made an appearance playing buckets on Universal recording artist Jackson Harris’s video for “Long Story Short.” And she appeared on Rihanna's latest video for “What's My Name?”

For more than 25 years, Javier Navarrette has been dedicated to the study and performance of music, specializing in Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Javier has studied with masters in Cuba including Miguel Angá Díaz, Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana, as well Folklorico Nacional de Cuba. In the San Francisco Bay area, he has studied with John Santos, Michael Spiro and Jesus Díaz.

Javier has had the honor to perform with such greats as Poncho Sanchez, Los Van Van, the “Conga Kings” (Francisco Aguabella, Carlos “Patáto” Valdez, Armando Peraza and Milton Cardona), as well as with Jon Faddis, Jerry Gonzalez, Trini Lopez, Nestor Torres, Jimmy Heath, and Bobi Cespedes. In addition, Javier has had the privilege of recording with world-renowned artists Giovanni Hidalgo, Anthony Carillo, Sandy Perez, Jimmy Bosch, José Fajardo, Orestes Vilató, Carlos Del Puerto, Dafnis Prieto, Pedrito Martinez and Andy Gonzalez. He also recorded on three Grammy nominated albums with John Santos’ Machete Ensemble and El Coro Folklorico Kindembo.

More recently, Javier has had the honor to perform on stage with Jerry Gonzalez, at the John Santos Concert, "Not In Our Name" at the Brava Theater in San Francisco. He has also had the opportunity to be a guest musician for the Stanford University Big Band.

Javier is frequently involved in a myriad of projects such as the featured artist in “Proyecto de Congueros” at Yoshis Jazz Club in San Franciso, and organizing Bomba y Plena workshops and performances with Los Pleneros de La 21, Aguacero, and La Mixta Criolla as part of the “Caminos de Mi Cultura” series at the Brava Theater in San Francisco.

Javier’s musical ventures have included touring with Los Mocosos, Bobi Cespedes, Josh Jones’ Latin Jazz Ensemble, Hector Lugo and Cacique y Congo, to name a few. Javier is currently a percussionist with Jesus Díaz y su QBA, Anthony Blea y Su Charanga, Carne Cruda, La Mission Band, Hector Lugo and La Mixta Criolla, The Cuban Cowboys and Los Mocosos. Javier is currently working on a new project, Machina Sol, along with three other San Francisco Bay Area artists. Javier continues to create new musical ideas, in order to expand his musical knowledge. He also enjoys teaching music to the next generation.

 

Voted "Rising Star of the Year" and Runner up in the "Studio Percussionist" category in DRUM! Magazine’s 2009 Readers Poll, Jocelyn Alvarez is a young, proud Latina of Puerto Rican and Dominican descent. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Jocelyn has an exciting, playing style and a deep musical knowledge, which allows her a wide ranging musical styles including Latin Jazz, Salsa, Hip-hop, Neo Soul, and Gospel.

Jocelyn began her musical instruction on piano, flute and vocals. It was then that she realized her true passion was percussion with a focus on hand percussion. Her early mentor, Jose Madera (Tito Puente’s bandleader), first introduced her to the Harbor Conservatory of the Performing Arts, a 26-year-old cultural landmark in New York City’s Spanish Harlem. There she studied with world-class Latin percussionists including George Delgado, Johnny Almendra among others. Jocelyn has a Music degree of which she majored in Music Performance. She is currently a freelance musician and dedicates her time passing on the gift of music through teaching in New York City and New Jersey.

Jocelyn has appeared on several different recording projects including commercials. Her long lists of performances include appearances at festivals, banquets, weddings and corporate events with clients such as North Fork Bank. She had the honor of performing at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall with other musicians from the Nyack School of Music. In more intimate settings, she's performed in small combos and alongside DJ's in small clubs and coffeehouses. Her talent, creativity, and dynamics make her an invaluable musician in group settings as well as a passionate solo performer.

 

Drummer and percussionist Nat Scott’s drumming can be described as musical, understated and tasteful, while adding texture and flavor to any melody or style of music. While learning and refining his skills, Nat realized that to succeed in music and achieve a high level of professionalism and musicianship, Los Angeles was the place to be.  

Scott has firmly established himself in the Los Angeles music community and has performed and/or recorded with such artists as Les McCann, Ndugu Chancler, The Dazz Band, Jeff Kashiwa, David Boswell, Wilton Felder, Richard Smith, Michael Lington, Everette Harp and Marc Antoine to name a few. Nat is currently performing and recording with percussionist Ron Powell. 

 

Born and raised in Northern California, Christina Torres has lived and breathed music from day one. She joined her family’s three-generation musical dynasty, The Mike Torres Band, at the age seven. She proudly continues to share the stage with them today. Christina serves as the female lead vocalist and is skilled in drums, timbales, congas and bongo. Christina also freelances with various bands throughout California.

Through the years, Christina has and toured the United States extensively, and she has had the great fortune of sharing the stage with artists such as the Escovedo Family, Tierra, El Chicano, War, Malo, Jorge Santana, Sapo, Freddy Fender, Los Lobos, El Debarge, Teena Marie and the Gap Band, as well as numerous Latin international artists including Sonora Dinamita, Sonora Santanera and Little Joe y La Familia to name a few.    

Christina is known for her versatility and skill in both American and Latin styles. Her ability to rock the front of the stage, while simultaneously serving as lead vocalist and primary percussionist makes her a rare commodity.  

Aside from her musical abilities, Christina is also an academician who holds a Bachelor's Degree from the University of San Francisco and a Master's Degree from National University.

Classically trained on piano, Jill Sager studied music theory and voice at LaGuardia High School of Music and Art, in New York City.  She earned a Bachelor's Degree in Recreation Therapy and discovered a passion for conga drums that led to study in Cuba and a California/NW Tour including performances at Vancouver Folk Festival.  

Jill is founder of "Hands On Rhythm and Drum School" in Eugene Oregon. Recognized as an educator, she's given hundreds of workshops and clinics, with appearances at The University of Oregon, The National Recreation and Parks Association Conference, Portland Schools, Oregon Music Educators Conference, and The National Institute on Inclusion Conference.

Jill works as an independent consultant enabling organizations to partake in the benefits of hand drumming year-round. She oversees the purchase of drums and trains staff and employees on their use. Her client list includes The Pearl Buck Center, Portland Recreation Department, and the City of Eugene's Recreation Services.

Luis Muñoz, composer, arranger and percussionist, was born in San José, Costa Rica. In 1972 Luis entered the University of Costa Rica and the National Music Conservatory, where he studied both Architecture and Music. In 1974 Luis completed his degree in music composition at the University of California, Santa Barbara, under the tutelage of renowned British composer Peter Fricker. Luis Muñoz has written music for documentaries, animation films, dance and theater, and has performed in some of the best Jazz festivals and venues in the world.

In 1988 he signed with CBS Records and recorded "La Verdad". In 1996, Fahrenheit Records "The Fruit of Eden", marked Muñoz's U. S. recording debut. In 1998, Muñoz released "Compassion", continuing to evolve as an innovative force in instrumental music.

In 2004 Muñoz released "VIDA" which received the acclaim of the music media worldwide: DownBeat magazine 4 stars, "Best Latin Jazz CD of the Year" by Jazzreview.com, "A truly Monumental Work" by Americas Magazine, "A Masterpiece" by Mark Holston /Hispanic Magazine, "One of the 10 best recordings of the year" by Latin Jazz Network. In 2006 Mr. Muñoz was given an ACAM award in Costa Rica, for Jazz Composer/Producer of the year.

In 2007 Mr. Muñoz released "Of Soul and Shadow", a recording that explores his Central American roots through the idioms of Costa Rican folklore, classical music and jazz. "Of Soul and Shadow" features the collaborative efforts of over 25 musicians, including special guests Adolfo Acosta (Tower of Power) on trumpet; chromatic harmonica player Ron Kalina; trombone player Ira Nepus (Diana Krall); and New York sensation Dave Binney on alto sax.

Luis Muñoz returned in 2010 with “Invisible”, receiving once again the acclaim of the music media worldwide (Top 10 Jazz CDs of the Year by JazzChicago.net). In 2011, Luis participated in a TED conference in Costa Rica, and won his second ACAM award for "Composer of the Year" by the Costa Rican Association of Musical Authors and Composers. Luis Muñoz is finishing a new album, entitled “LUZ”, to be released in January of 2013. With this new project, Luis Muñoz will confirm his place as a music visionary, and as one of the today’s most sensitive, melodic and talented Jazz composers.

 

A percussion staple in the gospel entertainment industry, Darius Fentress started performing with Grammy Award Winning Gospel artist, Fred Hammond at the age of eighteen.

Darius has worked as a live percussionist as well as a studio musician for artists such as Fred Hammond, Tyler Perry, Yolanda Adams, Kenny Latimore, Chante' Moore, Kirk Franklin, Donnie McClurkin, Peabo Bryson, Chuck Smith, Israel Houghton, Marvin Sapp, The Whispers,  and Commissioned, just to name a few. Darius has also been a part of traveling stage plays, multi-media productions and films.

Darius is a multi-talented musician who has also evolved into a recording engineer. He has recorded numerous records including the Grammy Award-Winning album, Free To Worship.

Dan Egger-Belandria represents a new generation of Latin musicians. Born in the U.S., his family heritage and childhood are tied to Venezuela where his spark for tropical music and percussion began. He is a skilled conga, bongo, timbale and drum set player - the result of engaging drumming masters such as Adel Gonzalez (Chucho Valdes, Afro Cuban All Stars), Miguel "Angá" Diaz and Enrique Plá (Irakere), Amadito Valdés and Carlos Gonzalez (Buena Vista Social Club), Modesto Cepeda (director/Escuela de Bomba y Plena de Puerto Rico) while also studying jazz at the University of Missouri. Dan has performed throughout the U.S. and abroad in a variety of musical genres, but his primary musical passion is rooted in Salsa and Latin Jazz. He is the bandleader for Señor Gato and the creator of the unique AquaDrums presentation that combines light, percussion and water to create an explosive audio-visual show.

Over the last two decades, Dan has dedicated himself to the art of Afro-Cuban and Caribbean drumming, yet his musical journey also includes accompanying DJs in musical styles ranging from salsa, rock, hip hop and Reggaeton.

As an arts educator and interactive facilitator, Dan has promoted multiculturalism and diversity awareness through New World Synergy to approximately 50,000 students and professionals over the course of his career. His flagship school assembly youth program, World Rhythm Synergy, unfolds the story of West African slavery and its impact on the Americas over 500 years using djembes, congas, bongos, cajon, claves and other percussion instruments that bridge the connections cultural and musical throughout this period of Western history.

Dan began his musical career while living in the United States but he has since relocated to Medellín, Colombia in early 2012 where he is reestablishing his Latin Jazz ensemble Señor Gato while studying tradition Colombian musical styles.

Puerto Rican-based percussionist, Daniel Diaz showed great interest for the conga at a young age. At 12 years of age, his father began to teach him to how to play the conga. Since then, the conga has become his passion and he has studied with some of the great percussionists, including Tito de Garcia, Giovanni Hidalgo, David “La Mole" Ortiz and Richie Flores. His interest in music led him to earn his bachelor’s degree in Popular Music in the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico.

Daniel has played with world-renowned musicians and singers, including, Jerry Rivera, Ismael Miranda, Cuco Peña, Jerry Medina, Andy Montanez, Luis Enrique, Ramón Vázquez, Eric Figueroa, Yan Carlos Artime, Pupy Santiago, Gema Corredera, Stanley Jordan, Rey Ruiz, Miguel Zenon, Pedro Guzman, Christian Nieves, Pancho Amat, Richie Flores, Giovanni Hidalgo, Paoli Mejías, Cuco Valoy, San Juan – Habana, The Puerto Rican Power and many more.

Innovation is what characterizes Daniel’s playing and he finds it very important to listen and study the roots and pioneer players of percussion. For Daniel there is no limit of knowledge or techniques. He wants to bring back different rhythms and continue to innovate in order to evolve music and percussion. His greatest interest is to share with the world his passion through music.

Oscar D'Auria - drummer, band leader, author, educator and clinician - was born in Buenos Aires, studied drum set with Maestro Alberto Alcalá, piano at Instituto Santa Cecilia, and percussion with Professor José María Martín Porrás at Real Conservatorio Superior de Música de Madrid, during his first residence in Spain.

Oscar has worked with his own bands and has been on the stage, TV, radio and albums with countless artists in several countries of South America, Europe, Southeast Asia, Russia, Japan and The United States of America.

His credits as an educator-author include the first rock rhythm method published in Latin America -Introducción al Rock / An Approach to Rock, and the founding of drumset courses at the SADEM (musicians union of Argentina); he has written 5 books more, has recorded the educational video "Batería en Acción" / "The Song and The Licks", has taught in Argentina, Spain, France and the United States of America and taught clinics and master classes in Argentina, the U.S.A and cities of Spain and Portugal.

His career includes artists from Argentina such as: Sandro or Roberto Goyeneche; Spain: Julio Iglesias or Los Chunguitos; México: Armando Manzanero or Amanda Miguel; U.S.A: Marco Antonio Solís or Pandora; music conductors and name musicians like Domingo Moles, Oscar Cardozo Ocampo or Otmaro Ruiz; concert halls such as the Olympia of Paris, Luna Park and Vélez Sarsfield Stadium of Buenos Aires, CCP of Manila, Kallang Theatre of Singapore or the Yomiuri Hall of Tokyo; and albums like "Afro Tango" and "Tango 2000" with his band, or "Latin Fantasy" of Sony Music which includes two songs from "Afro Tango" along with songs by Gloria Estefan,
Santana and Ricky Martin among other artists.

D'Auria has made innovations on the approach to play Tango on drumset, featured in his book "Drums-Batería-Drums". Likewise he introduced percussion instruments into Tango: congas, bongos, timbales, cowbells, claves, tambourines, cabasa, shakers,  blocks, chimes, sleigh bells, finger cymbals and electronic drums and percussion. This backup of rhythm potential brougth to Tango, he named Afrotango; style and name now used by many musicians and bands over the world.

Presently he divides his time among teaching, clinics, stage and studio in Europe and South America, his drumming school in Buenos Aires and performing worldwide with his Latin-Jazz quartet for Celebrity Cruises of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Ernie Becquer started his musical journey as a young boy when his grandmother exposed him to her favorite Cuban music and planted the seeds of Son, Bolero, Cha Cha, Mambo and many other types of Cuban music in his heart. Ernie was also inspired by his other grandmother, she was a poet, painter, and recording artist and painted hundreds of paintings, wrote many poems and a children’s book called “Nachito”.  She encouraged Ernie to pursue his passion for music. Ernie is constantly searching for knowledge and history to expand his musicianship. Ernie credits his grandmothers for his passion for music and his constant journey of artistic growth.

Ernie has lived in San Diego for more than 15 years, and his talent continues to be sought after by the top Salsa and Latin bands throughout California. His steady meter and passion for the conga is evident in his performances. He has performed all over the United States, Mexico, Central America and Africa.

Ernie has shared the stage and opened for some of the biggest names in the business, including the late Ray Barretto, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz and Cachao, as well as Oscar D’ Leon, Irakere, Cubanismo, Luisito Carrion, Son by 4 and Tito Nieves. “When you perform and share the stage with your musical heroes you can’t help but be honored,” says Ernie. “I am very thankful.”

Mark Schulman has enjoyed an unprecedented career over the last 26 years as a first-call drummer for world-class rock and pop artists. He has been voted as a ‘Top 3 Pop-Rock Drummer’ in the 2014 Modern Drummer Magazine Reader’s Poll. Having finished his third record-breaking world tour with P!NK (featured in that new DVD, 'The Truth About Love Tour' as well as DVDs  from her ‘I’m Not Dead’ and ‘Funhouse’ tours.)  Mark recently joined Cher for her ‘Dressed To Kill’ World Tour.

Mark’s resume reads like a “Who’s Who” of international Rock n’ Roll royalty, including acts such as Billy Idol, Foreigner, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks, Beyonce and many other top artists.  He has drummed with Velvet Revolver at Ozzfest and with Simple Minds for crowds of 200,000 at Glastonbury Festival. Mark has also appeared on nearly every American and European variety show on television including The Grammys, David Letterman, The Tonight Show, Conan O’Brien, Jon Stewart, American Idol, Paul O’ Grady, X-Factor, Wetten Das and many more.


Music is not Mark's only driving force; he was Chairman of the Board of Directors for Create Now!, a non-profit organization founded in 1996 to help change troubled children's lives through creative arts mentoring. A cancer survivor himself, Mark has also motivated children and teens through his work doing seminars with the Ronald McDonald House and benefits for the Teenage Cancer Trust in the UK.

Mark's new book 'Nerve Breakers: Conquering Life's Stage Fright' is the seminal book for anyone who wants to experience what it is like to transform fear and/or anxiety about giving a performance or presentation of any kind, into a confident, peak performance.


Schulman is a classically trained cellist and as a teen, played with the Los Angeles Junior Philharmonic. During the 2009/2010 P!NK tour, Mark also played cello, in addition to drumming. He is also a music producer, trained audio engineer and studio co-owner of West Triad Recording Studio in Venice, California.

As an active educator, Mark has taught at the Los Angeles Music Academy and is one of the worlds most sought after drum clinicians hosting clinics in countries around the world. Mark produced his first DVD in his studio entitled, ‘A Day in the Recording Studio; A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Recording Great Drum Tracks for Drummers and All Musicians’ distributed by Hudson Music.  The Mark Schulman Signature Snare Drum is the best selling signature product in the history of Gretsch.

 

Brian Kilgore's career as a session percussionist is about as diverse as it can possibly get. Brian says,"I'm fortunate that I get to play pretty much every genre of music there is, with the best musicians and artists in the world. I never know what will be thrown at me. Everyday is a new challenge, and my goal is to make the music the best it can be, and true to itself, no matter what the genre is."

In his wide ranging studio career, Brian has played on over 500 albums, including Rock and Roll with Cold Play, Daft Punk, Skrillex, Sheryl Crow, Whitney Houston, Starship, Linda Rondstadt, Ricky Martin, Jody Watley,  Robbie Nevil, the Goo Goo Dolls, Aerosmith, Latin jazz with Clare Fischer and Francisco Aguabella, straight ahead jazz with Terry Trotter, Bill Watrous, Bill Cunliffe, and Bob Florence, and smooth jazz with Kirk Whalum, Everette Harp, Dave Koz, Grant Geissman, and Warren Hill, and rap with NWA, P Diddy, and Dr. Dre, Christina Milian, and Xybit.

He has played on over two hundred film scores, including Raiders of the Lost Ark 4, King Kong, Ted, Happy Feet 2, The Gangster Squad, Narnia, Beowulf, Wall-E, Hairspray, Transformers, Pollock, A Bug's Life, Mighty Joe Young, A Perfect Storm, Spiderman II, The Bourne Supremacy, Troy, Van Helsing, I Robot, The Polar Express, Team America, Robots, The Legend of Zorro, and Cars. In addition to playing weekly on The Family Guy, American Dad, and Cleveland, he has also played on many television shows like Revenge, Vikings, Days of Our Lives, The Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel, and many awards shows.

He has also performed live with Barbra Streisand, Seth McFarlane, Christian McBride, Elton John, Deep Purple, Brad Mehldau, Teena Marie, Ivan Lins, Chaka Khan, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, and many more.

Brian received his Bachelor of Music degree from California State University, Northridge, where he subsequently served on the faculty from 1992-1998. With a wealth of diverse skills, from playing ethnic percussion instruments originating across the globe, to playing on some of the most complex orchestral films scores ever recorded, to laying down a groove that is guaranteed to make you move, Brian has cultivated a recording percussion career in all genres that has been matched by few.

Robin DiMaggio is a musical force with whom to be reckoned. Known as one of the world's premiere drummers and classical/world percussionists, Robin is also a highly skilled songwriter, composer, conductor, arranger, producer, and instrumentalist on the piano, bass, saxophone, and clarinet.

Robin has toured and recorded with music veterans such as Paul Simon, David Bowie, Jackson Browne, Diana Ross, Dr. Dre, Luther Vandross, Sean Lennon, Johnny Cash, and Chris Isaak; as well as with acclaimed world musicians, sitarist/composer Ravi Shankar and violin maestro L. Shankar. He has also appeared on David Letterman and performed at the Grammy Awards, American Music Awards, World Music Awards in Monte Carlo and the MTV Awards.

Robin was the drummer for Lopez Tonight, hosted by George Lopez, where he has played with incredible guests artists including Slash, Carlos Santana, Jamie Foxx, Puff Daddy, Emilio Estefan, Hector Elizondo, Andrew Dice Clay, Andy Garcia, Lucrecia, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Steel Magnolias, David Guetta, Charlie Wilson, Beth Hart, Los Lobos, George Clinton and Justin Bieber and John Legend.

Having traveled extensively from an early age, Robin's music incorporates rhythms and sounds from diverse cultures throughout the world. Robin has recorded three solo albums: Blue Planet, a musical tribute to his world travels; Sphere, a collection of lush, provocative piano solos; and Cinematic Lounge, a larger than life soundtrack. In addition, Robin released a drum training DVD, Planet Groove, which is a unique look into his 9 different styles broken down into 24 lessons.

Robin has some exciting new projects in the works, as he was personally hired by Cardinal Poupard from the Vatican in Rome to oversee the upcoming Cathredalia (the largest rock opera written for the SEA Vatican), to be held in Rome, Italy.

The vast array of influences in Robin’s life has made him a charismatic ambassador of the arts. He has been assigned the returning position of Official Music Director for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Awards.

Robin's most current project is Earthsong, a CD compiled of tracks from top artists in every country around the world. Spearheaded under the United Nations and Humanitad.org, Earthsong is part of a larger effort to save the environment and promote world peace. As the Senior Producer, Robin will be responsible for coordinating "one hundred and ninety-two world artists, one hundred and ninety-two songs, and seven world-music albums in a united campaign with one world message: NO MORE WAR."

As a music educator, Lance Beckford has been involved in teaching in various settings since 2003. A drum line instructor, assistant band director, private teacher, adjudicator, and clinician are the hats he has worn throughout the years. Working under the tutelage of Ed Wolfe at San Dimas High School gave Lance more than enough “field experience” to prepare him for the education industry. Beckford thanks all of his music teachers for being the very example he wants to be to his students. Lance is in the final stages of earning a Bachelor of Music Education degree at Azusa Pacific University. He continues to teach as a freelance educator around Southern California for the Vic Firth Education Team, and enjoys teaching privately at Gard’s Music in Glendora, California.

 Lance has been a performing musician for twenty years. His professional career as a drummer and hand percussionist began after graduating from Musicians Institute (Percussion Institute of Technology) in Hollywood, California as Outstanding Student of the Year in 2006. While at MI, Lance studied with Jeremy Strawn, and Chuck Silverman. Other studies have been with Will Kennedy, Rob Carson, Bill Schlitt, Mark Converse, and Hilary Jones among others.

Beckford is a freelance drummer and percussionist for studio and live settings. Most frequently, you can see him performing with Smooth Jazz Bassist Michael Haggins, Vaudeville Singer/Songwriter Adjoa Skinner, and R&B artist Terron Brooks. Lance also plays at his home church, Christ’s Church of the Valley (CCV) in San Dimas, California and thanks them for presenting great opportunities to expand his music.