Otmaro Ruiz Interview: “I was literally playing to a dead person…”

In this Otmaro Ruiz interview, growing up in Caracas playing Top 40 music, then running a jingle house… then moving to LA and the culture shock he dealt with, the pivotal moment he got turned on to jazz. TWO Serendipitous events that changed his musical career and his life, cool stories about playing with Simon Phillips, Tito Puente (a GREAT story about his work habits), Arturo Sandoval, John McLaughlin, Robbie Robertson, Gino Vannelli… self-doubt, the making of his Essencia LP, the impact his parents had on him (both stories very precious), cerebral palsy, being sensible, acting, magic, cooking, dealing with divorce, being sensible, and why “You don’t need much to be happy…”

Originally, a Conservatory guitar student, Otmaro Ruiz is a successful LA jazz pianist & session player. He’s toured and played with Dianne Reeves, Abraham Laboriel Sr., Alex Acuna, Justo Almario, John McLaughlin, Randy Brecker & Bill Evans’ SoulBop Project, Simon Phillips’ Protocol, Tito Puente, Arturo Sandoval, John Patitucci, Paquito D’Rivera, Jing Chi, Akira Jimbo, Frank Gambale, Peter Erskine, David Weckl, Gino Vannelli, Robben Ford, Vinnie Colaiuta, Jon Anderson and many others. He is currently on the UCLA faculty, and has been a frequent guest clinician at Los Angeles Music Academy, Musicians Institute & performs Masterclasses all over the world

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