Born: December 12, 1944 Primary Instrument: Percussion
Alex Acuña was born on December 12, 1944 in Pativilca, Peru - a small coastal village 100 miles north of the capital city of Lima, Peru. His real name is Alexjandro Neciosup Acuña. A self-educated musician, he was inspired by his father and brothers (all of whom were musicians). By the time Alex turned ten, he was already playing in local bands. As a teenager, he was one of Peru's most accomplished session drummers, performing on many recording projects for artists as well as film and television productions. Alex also earned a glowing reputation for his skills as a live performer.
At the age of eighteen, Alex was chosen by the great Latin bandleader, Perez Prado, to join his big band. It was with the Prado band that Alex first traveled to the United States. Several years later, he began studying at the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, playing as classical percussionist with the Symphony Orchestra for the Pablo Casals Summer Festivals in San Juan, P.R. In 1974, Alex moved to Las Vegas and there, played with such greats as Elvis Presley and Diana Ross. Following this chapter of his career, Alex became both drummer and percussionist for one of the most innovative jazz groups of our time, Weather Report, recording “Black Market” and the famous “Heavy Weather” album.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1978, Alex quickly earned the position of a valued session drummer and percussionist for recordings, television and motion pictures. He became the recipient of many awards and honors, including the Emeritus MVP award from the L.A. chapter of National Academy of Recording for the Arts and Sciences and winner of the Latin/Brazilian percussionist Category of Modern Drummer's Reader's Poll for five years running.
His countless album credits and live performances are comprised of such diverse artists as U2, Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Al Jarreau, Ella Fitzgerald, Roberta Flack, Andre Crouch, The Winans, Tracy Chapman, Sheryl Crow, Whitney Houston, Bruce Willis, Seal, Yellow Jackets, The Brecker Brothers, Chick Corea, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Carlos Santana, The Gipsy Kings, Julio Iglesias, Herbie Hancock, Koinonia, Juan Gabriel, Luis Miguel, Placido Domingo, Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, and Integrity Music Productions internationally with artists such as Ron Kenoly and others.
Alex has recorded film scores under the direction of Dave Grusin, Alan Silvestry, Michele Legrand, Bill Conti, Michele Colombier, Marvin Hamlish, Maurice Jaree, Mark Isham, Hans Zimmer, John Williams and many more!
In 2007 he was the percussionist on the last Joe Zawinul record “Brown Street.”