Alex Acuña

Peruvian drummer and percussionist Alex Acuna learned trumpet and piano from his father, while teaching himself the rudiments of drumming. He became a studio musician in Lima at 16, and joined Prez Prado's band in 1964, coming with them to Las Vegas. Acuna worked from 1966-1975 as a studio musician in Puerto Rico and Los Angeles as well as Las Vegas, then joined Weather Report. He alternated roles there during his two-year stint, splitting time between being their percussionist and drummer. Acuna made two albums with Weather Report, among them the hugely successful Heavy Weather, before leaving. He formed his own band, Koinoni, in 1980. Acuna has not attained the high profile of other Latin percussionists like Airto or Nana Vasconcelos, but has a lengthy list of professional credits, including recording dates with Clare Fischer, Ella Fitzgerald, Tania Maria, Chick Corea, Paco De Lucia and Joni Mitchell, plus a stint in guitarist Lee Ritenour's group. He's merged traditional Peruvian and modern Latin rhythms into a charged personal style that also reflects the influence of Elvin Jones and Tony Williams, among others. His current band has recorded for JVC, and mixes Afro-Latin and Latin jazz with funk and fusion.
Ron Wynn, Rovi

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