Humberto Ramírez grew up in a household steeped in the music of Tito Puente, Tito Rodríguez, Machito, Cal Tjader, Miles Davis, Lee Morgan, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane. His father, a saxophone player and bandleader inspired a young Humberto to take up the flugelhorn at age 11. By age 14, Humberto was already performing professionally with his father’s band and taking orchestration courses with bass player Inocencio “Chencho” Rivera. At age 18, after graduating from Escuela Libre de Música in San Juan, he pursued a career in music enrolling at Berklee College of Music in Boston where he earned a Bachelor of Music Degree with a Major in Jazz Composition and Arranging in 1984. He also studied Film Music Composition at Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles, California.
His dream was always to develop a career as a Jazz musician. In 1992 he released his first recording as a leader for the Tropijazz Label, “Jazz Project”. He has since shared the stage or has recorded with Jazz and Latin Jazz greats such as Freddie Hubbard, Eddie Gómez, Alex Acuña, Chick Corea, Justo Almario, McCoy Tyner, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Tito Puente, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Herbie Hancock, Michael Brecker, Michel Camilo, Dave Valentín, Hilton Ruiz, Paquito D’Rivera, Ray Santos, Gato Barbieri, Terence Blanchard, Chucho Valdés, Stanley Clarke, Ray Barretto, Gato Barbieri, Eddie Palmieri, Mario Rivera and Herb Alpert with whom he recorded the album “Passion Dance”, as well as joining him on Alpert’s 1997 world tour.
His music has received unprecedented attention from major publications and music journals including, Down Beat, Jazz Times, New York Daily News, Jazziz, CD Review, Latin Beat, The Plain Dealer, The Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Austin Chronicle, USA Today and Hispanic Magazine. He has 34 recordings as a leader where he has performed with many ensemble formats, duets, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, octets, strings orchestra, and his favorite, Big Bands.
Humberto has received four Grammy nominations for his production work including Willie Rosario Nueva Cosecha in 1986, Willie Colón Hecho in Puerto Rico in 1993, Tony Vega in 1996 and Olga Tañón Olga Viva, Viva Olga in 2001. He won the Grammy in 2000 with Olga Tañón’s album. He received a Latin Grammy nomination in 2013 for his album “Sentimentales” with Lucy Fabery. Other awards include, twelve gold records, six platinum records, four Visionary awards and one Ampex Golden Reel award. He has also had the honor to play at the White House for President Bill Clinton in 1997 and for President Barack Obama in 2009.
Special Guest -Tia Fuller
When Grammy-nominated Mack Avenue recording artist, composer, and bandleader Tia Fuller picks up her saxophone, something amazing happens. Blending technical brilliance, melodic creativity, and the performing precision drawn from both her academic and stage experience, Fuller is a force to be reckoned with in the worlds of jazz, pop, R&B, and more. Currently, Fuller balances the worlds of performance and education, fulfilling a demanding schedule as both a busy touring and recording artist and a full-time professor at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
An accomplished solo artist in her own right, Fuller has recorded five full-length projects with her quartet. Her most recent album, “Diamond Cut”, received a Grammy nomination in the Best Instrumental Jazz category; produced by three-time Grammy Award winner Terri Lyne Carrington, the album also features two superb rhythm sections, both of which contain some of jazz world’s brightest luminaries – bassist Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, then bassist James Genus and drummer Bill Stewart. Adding texture and harmonic support of several compositions are guitarist Adam Rogers and organist Sam Yahel. Additionally, Carrington contributes to two tracks with percussion.
Fuller debuted in 2005 with her self-produced set, “Pillar of Strength” (Wambui); her sophomore release, “Healing Space” (2007/Mack Avenue), is an offering of “melodic medicine” and healing agents. Her third CD, “Decisive Steps”, also for the Mack Avenue label, received the number one JazzWeek rating for two weeks straight, landed at number three in JET magazine’s top jazz CDs listing, and was nominated for Best Jazz album by JazzWeek. And in 2012, she released her fourth album, “Angelic Warrior”, which received praise from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and numerous jazz publications.
Fuller can also be seen touring regularly with several bands. She has appeared with Terri Lyne Carrington to perform her Grammy-winning Mosaic Project and Money Jungle: Provocative in Blue; served as assistant musical director for Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society tour; and recorded and toured with Dianne Reeves for her Grammy-winning Beautiful Life album. She has also performed with such luminaries as the Ralph Peterson Septet, Rufus Reid Quintet, Wycliff Gordan Septet, T.S. Monk Sextet, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, the Nancy Wilson Jazz Orchestra, the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, Chaka Khan, Ledisi, Kelly Rowland, Jay-Z, Jill Scott, Patti LaBelle, Sheila E, Valerie Simpson, Dionne Warwick, Janelle Monáe, Patrice Rushen, Erykah Badu, and the late Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, and Geri Allen.
In addition, she has received numerous awards and marks of distinction including, winning JazzTimes Jazz Critics Poll for best alto saxophonist (2018), and Downbeat Critic’s Poll-Rising Star two years in a row in the categories of Soprano Sax in 2014 and Alto Sax and Flute in 2013. In 2018, Fuller was honored with the Benny Golson Award from Howard University; received the Distinguished Alumnae Award as the commencement speaker at the University of Colorado at Boulder; and was appointed as the 2018 Artist-in-Residence at the Monterey Jazz Festival in Monterey, CA.
As an artist, performer, and teacher, Fuller feels that she is fulfilling her purpose here on this earth, which is to “serve as a light for others.”
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The show goes on rain or shine.
All performances at Miller Outdoor Theatre are funded in part by the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance.