Otmaro Ruiz
Lecturer, Global Jazz Studies

Venezuelan-born Otmaro Ruiz has performed with international jazz and pop icons such as Nat Adderley, Thomas Chapin, Miguel Bose, among others. In 1986, Otmaro Ruiz joined leading TV and radio production company Musica y Letra. It was this experience that would prove to be one of the most important factors in shaping his development as a composer, arranger, and, eventually, a producer.

In 1989, Ruiz moved to Los Angeles, enrolling in CALARTS, obtaining his master’s degree in jazz performance. However, it was his association with drummer/percussionist Alex Acuña that would introduce him to a select circle of musicians, including jazz giants Justo Almario and Abraham Laboriel. Since then, he has toured and recorded with the most significant jazz artists of our time, including John McLaughlin, Gino Vannelli, Arturo Sandoval, and Dianne Reeves (participated in her first Grammy album). With Alex Acuña, in the same year, also received a Grammy nomination.  Voted “Best Pianist of the Year 2008” and “Artist of the New Generation 2008” by the Latin Jazz Corner Magazine, Ruiz is continuously sought after, and has performed virtually in every international jazz festival, keeping versatility – his greatest asset, reflecting the love and respect he feels for all styles of music.

In 2012, Mr. Ruiz was awarded an honorary doctorate in music by Shepherd University (Korea/USA). His work as arranger/producer was recognized by NARAS with a nomination for the Grammy Awards 2016 (Catina DeLuna and LADO B Brazilian Project) and in 2019 with a double nomination at the Latin Grammys for Best Arranger / Best Jazz Album (Elemental). To critical acclaim, Ruiz released his own album, Sojourn, in 2008. Lado B (2016) has, according to tons of international reviews, elevated Brazilian popular music. Elemental (2018) and Essencia (2020) also achieved international critical acclaim.

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