Raul Pineda

Born: November 5, 1971    Primary Instrument: Drums

Raul Pineda


Grammy award-winner and 4-time Grammy-nominated, RAUL PINEDA, has been named one of today’s best and most innovative Latin drummers in the world.  Raul’s unique style of playing - a result of a coveted blend of Afro Cuban and contemporary influences applied to the modern drum set - have catapulted him into being one of Cuba’s most influential drummers of his generation. 
Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Raul’s musical foundation was cultivated by his challenging socio-economic surroundings.  As a young boy, Raul created makeshift drum kits by staking discarded steel rods into the ground and attaching old tin cans that had been used to store cooking oil.  His first drumsticks were made from branches of a nearby orange tree.    
The lack of resources, combined with the rich, musical environment of Raul’s upbringing was truly a benefit.  The teachings of the rumberos that gathered to play in the streets,  along with a constant echoing of Cuban music throughout the corridors of the colonial and dilapidated building where he grew up in Old Havana, engrained a deep sense of rhythmic creativity in him - - a quality that is evident in his style of playing. 
At the request of his late grandfather, musician, Nefer Miguel Milanés, Raul went on to study classical percussion for several years.  The combination of applied, modern techniques and the complex nature of Afro Cuban music became instrumental in shaping Raul’s unique sound. 
By 19 years old, Raul’s reputation for speed, accuracy, imagination, and technique landed him an offer to join one of Cuba’s most popular bands at the time, Sintesis, a progressive, world-music group that fused Afro Cuban rhythms with rock, jazz and Yoruban chants.  For the next 6 years, he recorded both the drum kit and batá drums in various albums which provided him a platform to develop innumerable musical concepts.  With Sintesis, Raul performed at Festival Internacionál Jazz Plaza de La Habana, Nice Jazz Festival and Jazz a Vienne in France, Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Pori Jazz in Finland, Festival de Las Artes in Costa Rica, Festival Internacionál de Bahia in Brazil and many others. At age 25, Raul was featured in a world- renowned educational video entitled, The Drumset Artists of Cuba which contributed to Raul’s rising popularity amongst drummers all over the world. 
After seeing Raul perform at the Pori Jazz Festival in Finland, Chucho Valdés, one of the world’s most legendary jazz pianists from Cuba, asked Raul to record on his Grammy-nominated album, Belé Belé in Havana in Toronto, Canada – Valdés’s first post-Irakere project.  Due the success of the album, Valdés, with the encouragement from Blue Note Records, recruited Raul to form part of the Chucho Valdes Quartet from 1997-2000 that included a Latin Jazz All-Star Tour in Europe alongside Michel Camilo, Giovanni Hidalgo, Claudio Roditti, Juan Pablo Torres, Roberto Vizcaino, Irvin Acao, and Mayra Caridad Valdés.  The quartet’s 2nd album, Briyumba Palo Congo, was also nominated for a Grammy in 1999.  The following year, Chucho Valdés Quartet - Live at the Village Vanguard, in New York City won the Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Performance.  At the time of its release, Raul was residing and teaching at various music conservatories in Denmark before relocating to the U.S. in 2001. 
In 2008, Raul co-produced, co-arranged and played on, Encuentro, a brilliant debut album with the Afro Cuban Latin Jazz Project featuring saxophonist, Bob Mintzer (Yellowjackets).  ...
read more


Grammy and Latin Grammy Award Winner!
Discography 1993 Sintesis "Ancestros II" 1995 Sintesis "En Los Limites del Barrio" 1997 Sintesis "Orichas" 1998 Chucho Valdes "Belle Belle in Havana" 1999 Chucho Valdes "Briyumba Palo Congo" 2000 Chucho Valdes " Live at The Village Vanguard 2001 "A Puerto Padre" A Tribute to Emiliano Salvador 2001 Pablo Milanes "Querido Pablo II" and many more....... 2005 Bembé En Mi Casa – Nachito Herrera 2008 Encuentro – Afro Cuban Latin Jazz Project

Disclaimer: All About Jazz is not responsible for the accuracy of the discographical data at the website(s) provided. If a link is no longer valid, please contact Thank you.

Primary Instrument:

Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.

Sorry, no recommendations at this time.

DW Drums,Hardware and Pedals, Gon Bops Percussion, Sabian cymbals, Regal Tip Drumsticks,Audix microphones and Remo Heads, Beato Bags.

Please Sign Up or Log In to send your inquiry.

Events Calendar

Sorry, there are no Raul Pineda events available at this time. Submit one now.

TIP: Reach multiple calendar destinations with a single post. Learn now here.

Submit Take Five Answers. We'll publish your Take Five questions and answers as an article, feature it on the home page and link to it from your musician profile.
Post a formal announcement to the News Center. We'll publish it and syndicate it for you.
comments powered by Disqus
Rank: 1,579 Views: 8,931

Weekly Giveaways

Ed Palermo

Ed Palermo
About | Enter

Matthew Shipp

Matthew Shipp
About | Enter

Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley
About | Enter

Tord Gustavsen

Tord Gustavsen
About | Enter

An innovative and rich resource For Jazz Musicians

The All About Jazz musician database grows daily
with the help of musicians, supportive professionals and advocates.

Musician? Plug in and promote yourself today.

Learn how