Calixto Oviedo - Biography & New CD "CUBAN JAZZ TRAIN" 2015 !
A MI AIRE
WHY AM I
I'LL TELL YOU
Calixto Oviedo - Biography
Calixto Oviedo is a Latin Grammy nominated artist
(La Rumba del Siglo, 2000) who has had the opportunity to play with numerous internationally known artists such as Paquito
D'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Chucho Valdés,
Danilo Pérez, David Sanchez, Luis Conte, Ray Barreto,
Giovanni Hidalgo, Alfredo Rodriguez, Dave Valentin, Juan Pablo
Torres, Orlando "Maraca" Valle and Tony Martínez
as well as the celebrated Cuban percussionists Tata Güines, José Luis "Changuito"
Quintana, and Miguel "Angá" Diaz in a very successful career that spans over 38
Calixto was born on October 14, 1955 in the Havana barrio of La Vibora and his earlier
musical recollection was at the age of two or three, waiting in front of the television, toy violin in hand, waiting to play
along with the performances of his favorite band, La Orquesta Aragón. It was at the advanced age of
four, however, that it became clear to this young prodigy that his true calling was to play the drums so, he discarded his
toy violin in favor of a plastic bucket, several empty cans, and an old frying pan, all of which he played with drumsticks
fashioned from coat hangers.
At the ripe age of eight, he entered the primary music school of Caturla in Havana,
and appeared with several famous Cuban musicians, among them the piano master Rubén Gonzalez. After
graduating from the National High School of the Arts, he plays with many different bands, such as the Radio & Television
Orchestra, Grupo Achére. Later, he joined the band of the Cuban bolero singer Pacho Alonso.
In the early 80's, he became the very first drummer in the band of Arturo Sandoval, after he left Irakere.
In 1983, with his old school mate, Adalberto Alvarez, he founded
the Adalberto y Su Son orchestra, where he played timbales and stayed there until the beginning of 1990, when he joined the
music group Pachito Alonso y Sus Kini Kini, where he stayed for a year until 1991, where he would start playing
the drums and timbales in N.G. La Banda, considered by many to be the creators of the a
new Cuban sound, the "Timba", the best and most exciting Cuban dance group of the 1990s. That band was formed
in 1988 by flute player José Luis Cortés and included many brilliant musicians who had formerly
played with Irakere and Los Van Van.
The group was best known for placing emphasis on tight rhythms and their aggressive
brass section, nicknamed the Terror Brass, with Calixto's drums and timbales at the forefront. He was their
drummer during the period that produced many of their greatest recordings; Santa Palabra, Échale Limón,
and El Trágico.
In the mid-90's, he relocated to Sweden, during which time he made an excellent Timba
record, La Recompensa, with his son Yulién and other key members of Charanga Habanera
while also being the drummer of the Afro-Cuban All Stars band. Calixto moved from Stockholm to Lakewood,
Colorado, in July of 2013, and since then, has been performing and teaching clinics at major United States Universities such
as the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU), California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA), and Berklee College of
Through the years, he has been privileged to play in many of the most illustrious
festivals around the world such as: La Feria de Cali (Colombia); Montreaux Jazz Festival (Canada); Paleo
Rock Festival (Switzerland); Carnaval in Panamá (Panama); Nice jazz Festival (France); A Sulle Festival (Italy); Roskilde
Festival (Denmark); Festival de Salsa de Madrid (Spain); North Sea Jazz Festival (Netherlands); Antillansefeesten (Belgium);
Gottingen Jazz Festival (Germany); Festival de Salsa en Barcelona (Spain); Umbria Jazz Festival (Italy); Couleur Café
(Belgium); Festival di San Remo (Italy); Riga Ritmi Festival (Latvia); Copenhagen Jazz Festival (Denmark); Nordischerklang
(Germany); Red Sea Jazz Festiva (Israel); Imatra Big Band Festival (Finland); Umeå Jazz Festival (Sweden); Oslo World
Music (Norway); Salsa Festival de Madrid (Spain); Feria del Pacífico (Peru); Frutas Tropicales (Finland); Molde Jazz
Festival (Norway); Udine jazz (Italy); Montreal Jazz Festival (Canada); Portland Jazz Festival (USA) and The Sun Festival
In October 1st, 2014, Calixto became a member of the music faculty at the
California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA) as a percussion professor.