Tony Banda Ramon Banda

    Bassist Tony Banda made his entry into the world in May of 1956. Growing up in the Los Angeles area he gained initial exposure to music through his family. By the age of 5 years old he was performing steady weekend gigs with the family group, thus receiving invaluable "on-the-bandstand" experience at an unusually young age. It was during these formative years that Tony's love and appreciation for all types of music grew immensely, especially Jazz / Latin / Rhythm & Blues. With over 40 years of experience and a wide spectrum of musical concepts from which to draw from it's easy to see why he is one of the top players on the music scene today. He counts among his many influences legendary Jazz Bassist Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, John Heard and Al McKibbon. Latin greats Bobby Rodriguez, Cachao, Andy Gonzalez and Soul music innovators James Jamerson, Rocco Prestia, Bernard Odum and Larry Graham.

     For the past 22 years Tony's signature rock steady feel has been the anchor for one of the worlds most celebrated music ensembles the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. As an original member of the group Tony Banda travels the world recording and performing with some of the greatest names in Jazz today at festivals and prestigious venues such as, Carnegie Hall. Since 1996 he has also been performing with the Banda Bros. Group, which he co-leads with his brother Ramon. The group which features him on acoustic upright is a vehicle for his more adventurous side and has been receiving rave reviews from critics and fans alike.

    Tony has always taken immense pleasure in performing. His joyful spirit and outgoing personality connects with the audience and allows them to become a part of the musical experience and is one of the many highlights of Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band performances. Without a doubt, Tony Banda's powerful grooving bass lines on the groups 1999 Grammy Award winning CD Latin Soul propel the performance to a higher level.

    Although he began his musical life as a guitarist, Ramon took over the drum chair in the family band in 1967. Along the way he has become one of the most respected and in demand Drummer/Percussionists today. His unique style and hard grooving approach evolved naturally from his formative years on the Los Angeles music scene.

    Most familiar to U.S. and international audiences for his work on timbales with the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, Ramon participated in over 22 recordings, countless world tours and educational workshops over the past two decades. Ramon has now ventured out on his own, working with a variety of artists, including live performances, session work and private instruction.

    Ramon's musical tastes run wide and deep from; Rashaan Roland Kirk to Hank Williams and everything in between. His drumming influences include; Max Roach, Billy Higgins, Jeff Hamilton, Clyde Stubblefield and Al Jackson as well as percussion greats; Tito Puente, Manny Oquendo, Willie Bobo and Orestes Vilato. Ramon's versatility on drums and percussion have allowed him to perform and/or record with many legends of Jazz and Latin music such as; Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Cal Tjader, Freddie Hubbard, Carmen McRae, Mongo Santamaria, Celia Cruz, Eddie Harris, Al McKibbon and The Jazz Crusaders. As well as the innovators of today including Chick Correa, Dianne Reeves, Joey De Francesco, Arturo Sandoval and Terence Blanchard. Playing with an energy and conviction that is soulful, relaxed and intensely swinging, Ramon signs all of his art that way, but never more so than when he along with his brother Tony head up their own ensemble, The Banda Bros. Group. Formed in 1996 with a powerful emphasis on straight-ahead Jazz as well as drawing from the rich Afro-Caribbean traditions. The sextet has a unique talent for bringing insight and imagination to original material as well as covered classics, providing the perfect balance of accessibility and invention.

Revised: Friday, July 29, 2011

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