Juan Carlos Formell is a musician that combines the musical traditions of his native Cuba with influences from throughout the Caribbean and Latin America along with the flavor and sophistication of New York, where he has resided for nearly two decades. Internationally recognized as an innovative troubadour, gifted composer, and an inspired multi-instrumentalist, his discography and list of collaborations sets him apart as one of the most accomplished cosmopolitan artists on the scene today.
Raised in Cuba in one of the most prominent families in Cuban music, he represents the fourth generation of musicians in the Formell family. His father, bassist Juan Formell, is the founder and leader of the seminal Cuban group Los Van Van, an ensemble that has been instrumental in defining the sound of Cuban music for the past forty years.
Juan Carlos first studied bass with Andres Escalona, the principal bassist for the Havana Symphony, and played guitar and began composing in his teens. He became the bass player for jazz pianist Emiliano Salvador and later left Cuba to tour Mexico as a replacement for Cachaito Lopez. After moving to New York in 1993 Formell began to establish himself as a professional bassist, guitarist and singer/songwriter. This eventually led him to work with many renowned artists such as Paul Simon, Cesaria Evora, Eliades Ochoa, Susana Baca, and Milton Nascimiento.