OTMARO RUIZ (Pianist, Composer)
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 and a double Latin Grammy Award Nomination in 2019.
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, Randy Brecker & Bill Evans’ SoulBop Project, Simon Phillips’ Protocol, 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). In 2015, Otmaro produces and releases the album “Catina DeLuna and LADO B Brazilian Project featuring Otmaro Ruiz”, earning his first Grammy Nomination in the Arranging category, and in 2018,”Elemental” is released, featuring legendary bassist Jimmy Haslip and Jimmy Branly. “Elemental” marks the realization of a long time dream of producing a more electric infused Fusion project. “Elemental” generated international accolades and a double nomination at the Latin Grammy Awards in the categories of Best Arrangement and Best Jazz Album.
Otmaro Ruiz worked as Jazz Piano Faculty at University of Southern California (USC), at Cornell School of Contemporary Music at Shepherd University, has been a frequent guest clinician at Los Angeles Music Academy (LAMA), at Musicians Institute (MI) and continues to travel the world not only as a performer, but also as an educator, dictating workshops and Masterclasses in top conservatories.
Otmaro Ruiz enjoys a US support deal from KAWAI Pianos and proudly endorses products from the following companies: NORD CLAVIA PRODUCTS, ROLAND MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS, SPECTRASONICS, RADIAL ENGINEERING, A.R.T., MACKIE, ZOOM, PRIMACOUSTIC, US MUSIC CORP (QuikLok, Washburn Guitars), SPECTRASONIC and LP (Latin Percussion).