Division: Contemporary Music
Program: Jazz Studies
Office: LPB 118
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, Ruiz moved 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, Ruiz worked for five years with Dianne Reeves as a pianist and musical director. During this period, Ruiz 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 Ruiz’s collaboration, was nominated for a Grammy.
The long list of renowned musicians with whom Ruiz 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 and Afro-Cuban to the most exciting fusion, with the 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, Marcus Miller, and Jon Anderson.
Regarded as one of the most sought-after keyboardists for recordings in today’s scene, Ruiz is still able to dedicate time to the scoring of movie soundtracks 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), and Ben Wendel (saxophones and bassoon).