Charles Ruggiero was born to be a drummer. The son of world renowned jazz musician Vinnie Ruggiero, Charles spent his early years surrounded by the who's who of Jazz. There was always music around, and with musicians like Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Freddie Hubbard, and Jon Hendricks coming to spend time and play, it was only a matter of time before he caught the bug and asked his father to play the bang-bangs.
As a teen Charles got serious about drumming, playing anywhere he could. He knew he was onto something when other high schools, local colleges, professional theatre groups and popular local bands throughout western N.Y. started to hire him. After a knock out audition won him seat in the New York State All State Jazz Ensemble, every music college in the U.S. came calling. When Manhattan School of Music offered a full scholarship and a chance to study with famed jazz educator Justin DiCioccio, Charles jumped at the chance. His time at MSM proved invaluable. New York City in the early 90's was alive with jazz, and he was cutting his teeth with current jazz luminaries Joshua Redman, Peter Bernstein, Ryan Kisor, Stefon Harris, Brad Mehldau, Myron Walden, Chris Potter, and Dwayne Burno, to name a few.
In 1993, Charles landed the gig with Chuck Mangione, touring with the jazz superstar for the next 4 years. After leaving Mangione's band, Charles played in various projects, concentrating on small group jazz again. He could be found in and around NYC playing drums nightly at Smoke, Smalls, The Blue Note, Cleopatra's Needle, et al, with the likes of Phil Harper, Eric Alexander, Ian Hendrickson-Smith, Frank Wess, Wayne Escoffery, Jeremy Manasia, Grant Stewart, Joel Frahm, Jane Monheit, Jeremy Pelt, Spike Wilner... and the list goes on, and on... and on.