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Acuna, Alex (12th December 1944 to Present)

He is a percussionist, drummer and teacher born Alejandro Neciosup Acuna in Pativilca, Peru, to a musical family.

He was self taught for the most part and began his musical career from a very young age, performing in bands from his local area when he was only 10 years old. When he was twelve he also began playing the trumpet and learned to read music. Once he was in his teens he moved to Lima and then in 1962 he joined up with Perez Prado’s band and started touring and recording with them. He stayed with them until 1967 when he relocated in Puerto Rico and while there studied Latin and classical percussion at the San Juan Conservatory.

Six years later in 1974 he moved once again to Las Vegas and began performing with some of the top artists of the time and in 1975 became member of the group Weather Report, touring Europe and featuring on the albums Heavy Weather and Black Market.  Three years on and he moved yet again, this time to California, where he became an extremely active and sought after session musician. 1980 saw him joining up with the band Koinonia and then, a decade later, 1990 saw him releasing Alex Acuna & The Unknowns, followed by Thinking of You and No Accent.

Throughout a career that has spanned nearly five decades it would probably be easier to list the artists he hasn’t worked with, but some of the ones he has lent his talents to include Christina Aguilera, Joan Armatrading, Badi Assad, Backstreet Boys, Joan Baez, Beck, Jackson Browne, Lindsey Buckingham, Vikki Carr, Tracy Chapman, Joe Cocker, Michel Colombier, Chick Corea, Willy DeVille, Placido Domingo, Tim Finn, Roberta Flack, Dan Fogelberg, Peter Gabriel, Herbie Hancock, Whitney Houston, Julio Iglesias, Al Jarreau, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Leo Kottke, Abraham Laboriel, Bob Malach, The Manhattan Transfer, Paul McCartney, Sergio Mendes, Joni Mitchell , David Newman, Roy Orbison, Sam Phillips, Elvis Presley, Bonnie Raitt, Minnie Riperton, Lee Ritenour, Robbie Robertson, Diana Ross, Patrice Rushen, Carlos Santana, Lalo Schifrin, Chester Thompson , Stanley Turrentine, Was (Not Was), Bruce Willis, The Winans and Dwight Yoakam to name just a very few.

The 2000s saw him releasing the solo albums Acuarela de Tambores, Los Hijos del Soli: To My Country and the Grammy nominated Rhythms For a new Millenium and, as you can imagine, the other albums he has appeared on over the years are extremely numerous. They include Seduction of Claude Debussy by The Art of Noise, Best Of… by Anita Baker, Autoamerican by Blondie , Slowing Down the World by Chris Botti, Matters of the Heart by Tracy Chapman, And So Is Love by Rita Coolidge , Through the Eyes of Love by Randy Crawford, Looking Forward by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Back of My Mind by Christopher Cross, Temple of Low Men by Crowded House, Ceremony by The Cult, Heartlight by Neil Diamond , Best Of… by Ella Fitzgerald, Come By Me by Harry Connick Jr. , Greatest Songs of the Seventies by Barry Manilow, Mathis on Broadway by Johnny Mathis , Gran Via by Matt Bianco , Whisper a Prayer by Mica Paris, Human Being by Seal, All Systems Go by Donna Summer, Amnesia by Richard Thompson, Rattle & Hum by U2, Escapology by Robbie Wiliams and the soundtracks of Gorillas in the Mist, Grace of My Heart, Happy Feet, Havana, La Bamba, Mambo Kings, Miami Rhapsody and Slam Dance which are just a small sample of his extensive output.

Today he is busy working and recording in his own studio for Alex Acuna Production Co. and working with his bands The Unknowns and Tolu. In the field of musical education he has taught at Berklee College of Music and the University of California.

The Manhattan Transfer Recordings
Body & Soul (Edward Heyman/Robert Sour/Frank Eyton/Johnny Green )
Atlantic: K11476 B (UK45)

Here he is performing a solo percussion piece…