Considered one of the most important jazz pianists in the current scene, venezuelan Otmaro Ruiz is known for his versatility and virtuosity. After working intensively in Venezuela with artists such as Soledad Bravo and Ilan Chester, Otmaro moves to Los Angeles in 1989 to join the group of great names of the jazz world such as Alex Acuña, Justo Almario y Abraham Laboriel, with whom still collaborates in diverse projects.
With an intense musical career, filled with concerts, workshops and recordings worldwide, Otmaro worked for 5 years with Dianne Reeves as a pianist and musical director. During this period, Otmaro participated in the recording project of her CD “In The Moment – Live in Concert”, which won the Grammy Award 2001. In that same year, Alex Acuna’s album “Acuarelas de Tambores, also with Otmaro’s collaboration, was nominated to a Grammy. His collaboration with Weston Woods Studios for the Scholastic Series of animated children videos have won important recognitions like the “2004 Audie Award” in the Children Production Category and Bronze Remi at the 2004 Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival (for the Soundtrack of “Chato and The Party Animals”); Otmaro also received a Life Time Special Award “International Exposure” from the Venezuelan National Artist’s Institute (for outstanding career in a foreign country). In 2012, Otmaro was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Musical Arts from Shepherd University. His work as an arranger was recognized by the American Academy of Recording Arts with a 2016 Grammy Nomination.
The long list of re-known musicians with whom Otmaro works, constantly confirms his versatility, proving that this jazz giant sails with ease in many different styles, from Straight-Ahead jazz to Pop-Rock, from the most authentic Salsa & Afro-Cuban to the most exciting Fusion, with unusual ability to express his own language both at the acoustic piano and in the electronic world of synthesizers. Among these amazing artists: John McLaughlin, Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, John Patitucci, Paquito D’Rivera, Jing Chi, Nana Caymmi, Dori Caymmi, Akira Jimbo, Frank Gambale, Peter Erskine, David Weckl, Art Davis Quintet, Charlie Haden Liberation Music Orchestra, Alain Caron, Gino Vannelli, Tolu, Frank Morgan, Robben Ford, Vinnie Colaiuta and Jon Anderson.
Regarded as one of the most sought-after keyboardists for recordings in today’s scene, Otmaro is still able to dedicate time to teaching, scoring of movie sound-tracks and to the production of his works as a leader with original compositional material, captured in the CDs “Otmaro Ruiz plays Ryuichi Sakamoto”, “Distant Friends”, “Nothing to Hide”, “Latino” and in his most recent album “Sojourn”. Released in September 2008, Sojourn encompasses the rhythmic complexity, harmonic sophistication and melodic beauty of his most recent compositions, under the architecture of a constant equilibrium, and presented with his own quartet, with the talented Jimmy Branly (drums), Carlos Del Puerto (acoustic bass) y Ben Wendel (saxophones and bassoon). Currently, Otmaro is a Jazz Piano Faculty at University of Southern California (USC), at Shepherd University School of Music and is also invited frequently as a guest clinician at Los Angeles Music Academy (LAMA) and Musicians Institute (MI).
Otmaro Ruiz enjoys a US support deal from KAWAI Pianos and proudly endorses products from the following companies: LP (Latin Percussion), ART, RADIAL ENGINEERING, MACKIE, ZOOM, PRIMACOUSTIC, US MUSIC CORP (QuikLok, Washburn Guitars), SCARBEE and ILIO/SPECTRASONIC.
was born in Havana, Cuba and grew up in a rich musical environment of Cuban flavors. He began his studies at the Conservatory of Music in Havana Adolfo Guzman and ENA (National School of Art). At the young age of 9, his father introduced him to rock music including the band, Deep Purple. It was Deep Purple's 1972 album "Made in Japan" that captivated Jimmy and drew him into the world of music. Being introduced to this style of music was of special import since Rock was not a significant genre in Cuba. Jimmy was also exposed to other rock groups like Rush, Led Zeppelin, and the Beatles building upon Jimmy's desire to transcribe these artists. He expanded his interests when he began listening to jazz greats like John Coltrane, Elvin Jones, Chick Corea, and Keith Jarrett to name a few.
Jimmy's professional career began at the young age of 15 where he met Hernan Lopez-Nussa from the Afro-Cuban jazz septet "Afrocuba" who could hear that Jimmy was someone he wanted to play with. Jimmy started playing with the original band "Cuarto Espacio" that combined the styles of fusion, rock, and Cuban music. Jimmy actually didn't start playing Cuban music in Cuba until 1996 with Issac Delgado. From there, Jimmy moved to NG La Banda. Jimmy continued to evolve in his approach to playing the drums when he worked with Gonzalo Rubalcaba who taught him to play with the more sensitive range of the instrument. Jimmy decided to move to California after being exposed to the rich range of social and musical opportunities that the United States has to offer.
was born December 31st, 1951 in the Bronx, New York. He grew up in Huntington, Long Island. In 1963 at the age of 13, he became interested in electric bass and has now been playing for 47+ years. Jimmy left New York in 1969 playing music in San Francisco, New Orleans, Denver and Dallas before moving on to Los Angeles in late 1975, where he began touring and recording with many different popular artists.
In 1978 he met guitarist Robben Ford and keyboardist Russell Ferrante and formed a group to record Robben's first solo recording on Electra-Asylum. This critically acclaimed album, called " The Inside Story" became a landmark recording. That album led to the formation of The Yellowjackets and in 1980 they recorded a debut album for Warners Bros. Records.
Jimmy is actively composing, arranging, producing and performing with Yellowjackets, who will be touring and promoting their newest recording in 2011, their 21st CD entitled "TIMELINE" on the MACK AVENUE recording Label. Yellowjackets, the two time Grammy winners, have been nominated for seventeen Grammy’s. Jimmy was also nominated for an Edison award in 2000. and this year, another Grammy nomination, his 18th for the Jeff Lorber Fusion “NOW IS THE TIME” recording.which he co-produced.