Berardo “Chacho” Ramirez is bandleader, composer and drummer of his band “MetroTang” playing Latin Jazz with an Afro-beat. MetroTang opened the Narrowsburg JazzFest in May 2006 as its premiere performance. The recently released CD, “Lights Out,” presents original tunes plus one by Paquito d’Rivera and one by Bobby Martone. The CD is receiving accolades, as “Chacho has created a contemporary sound that expresses today’s cultural milieu” (Hal Galper).
Born in New York City in 1951 of Cuban and Puerto Rican background, Chacho began playing drums at the age of 12. His parents didn’t want to buy him a drum set, so he arranged grocery store boxes as a set around him; he had to replace boxes frequently. Later, with a drum set and living in apartments, Chacho was frequently chased from his rehearsal space down the block, sometimes with a broom. Nevertheless, he persevered through the years, studying intermittently with Ian Finkel (Xavier Cugat Band), Steve Barrios (Mongo Santamaria, Fort Apache Band), Freddie Waits (McCoy Tyner, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye), and Pablo Rieppi (Professor, Columbia University, Hofstra University). Chacho also taught in workshops, drum clinics and Master Classes alongside Max Roach, Alan Dawson, Joe Morello, Bernard Purdie, and Jim Chapin.