"JC" Johnny Conga, Congas

Johnny Conga, is a “multi-percussion-specialist”, in the Art of Afro-Cuban/Caribbean drumming and Latin Jazz music.
The Artists that “JC” has worked with cover the gamut of “styles” in music and include Carlos Santana, Eddie Palmieri, Sergio Mendes & Brasil 77, Paquito D’Riviera, The Jackson 5, Willie Bobo, Mongo Santamaria, Cerrone (France), Gloria Gaynor, Johnny Pacheco, Dave Valentine and over 100 other major artist’s in the United States and abroad. To date Johnny has been in 180 bands, over 500 recordings, and has done 17 International World tours to more than 50 countries.      

​"Wliile" Rodriguez, Bongos, Guiro & Percussion

Willie Rodriguez, an accomplished percussionist is currently performing with a Jazz and Latin groups in the South Florida area. Formerly from New York, he has played & recorded percussion with numerous groups both in Miami & New York, including Charlie Palmieri Orchestra, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz Bands, Gilberto Sextette, and Azuquita y su Melao to name a few. He has also performed percussion with Jazzmobile in and around NYC.

Ismael Carlos, poet
Ismael ‘East” Carlo, has used the Monika “East” as his show business name.  If ever you want to know the story of why “East” just ask him, he’s very proud of this story. 
Originally from the streets of New York, Ismael began his show business career in South Florida with “Miami Vice”. He subsequently moved to the West Coast where his Los Angeles affiliations include the shows “Murder She Wrote”, “Eraser”, “Bandidas” among several other productions.  Together with Latin Jazz artist Bobby Matos, Ismael founded “Café con Bagels” a record label with over a dozen CD releases currently available. Ismael’s most recent CD “Provocateur” is a collection of poetry with music from Bobby Matos and his Afro Latin Jazz Ensemble.
Ismael Carlos has recently relocated to South Florida and enjoys comida con sabor.
But to quote Ismael: “Miami, Florida was my birth place into this wonderful business of show, and feel fortunate enough to be back at this time and place.  I started here, and I guess as they say you return to the place that you grew up in”.  The time is right for a new beginning, to create, and help in that endeavor, particularly for our youth who need an outlet for expression, music, art, theater, poetry, etc…”

Saulo Ferreira, Guitar and Synthesizer
Saulo has been a free-lance pianist, guitarist and composer throughout his career. Originally from Brazil, he grew up playing music in the church before discovering and pursuing jazz. As a teenager, he began performing music in the restaurants and night clubs of Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia before he re-located to South Florida. Saulo presently works as an educator as well as with Brazilian jazz artists among others, and has hundreds of self-published compositions to his credit in the genres of samba, choro, bossa nova, baio, and forms of jazz. His website is www.sosFreeJazz.com.  Saulo is also a chess enthusiast, of which he has earned the title of  International Chess Master.

Luis Disla, Saxophones and Flute

Luis is a Grammy-nominated recording artist, bandleader and an Artist/Educator for Selmer Saxophones and Vandoren Reeds.

He's spent several years working in the NYC R&B, Latin and Jazz scenes before relocating to South Florida. Present affiliations include the Mike Norris Jazz Orchestra, Tito Puente Jr. and his Latin Jazz Orquesta as well as his own project Prophecy available on itunes and Pandora.

Bruno Cruz, Bass
Bruno spent several years playing bass in the NYC Salsa and Jazz scene before relocating to South Florida. An in-demand bassist of South Florida Latin Jazz scene, Bruno collaborated with Fredy Lugo on several projects before becoming involved in the Rhumba Jazz Septet and its several off-shoots. 

Performing originals in the Jazz and Latin Jazz traditions.

                                            Moving in new directions with Original Jazz and Poetry. 

Armando's Rumba by Chick Corea
Rhumba Fantasia by Candy Wheela
Caribe by Michel Camilo
Sidewinder by Lee Morgan
Mambo Inn by Mario Bauza
Verdad Amarga by Eddie Palmieri
Mr. Lugo by Freddie Leon

One Note Descarga by Tito Puente
Sofrito by Mongo Santamaria
Morning​ by Clare Fischer
Vamonos Pa'l Monte by Eddie Palmieri
Picadillo by Eddie Palmieri‏
Eye of the Storm by Candy Wheela
Duke Ellington's Sound of Love by Charlie Mingus
Dance of the Infidels by Bud Powell
Here Comes Danny by Candy Wheela
Manteca by Chico O'Farrill
Cha Cha Blues by Candy Wheela
Footprints by Wayne Shorter
Afro Blue by Mongo Sanatamaria
Cubano Chant by Ray Bryant
Mongo's Mambo by Mongo Santamaria
Cuban Fantasy by Mario Bauza
Tito's Take Five in 4 adapted from Take Five by Dave Brubeck
Moanin' by Bobby Timmons
PorQue by Candy Wheela

Please note that performance repertoire may also include original arrangements with poetry.

Most musical arrangements are by Candy Wheela

Ray Feliciano, Trumpet and Flugelhorn
Ray is an experienced trumpet player and arranger who is a veteran of the NYC salsa scene. His New York affiliations include Hector Lavoe, Johnny Pacheco, Celia Cruz, Luis "Perico" Ortiz, and Jose Bello, to name but a few. He recently relocated to the South Florida area.

Candy Wheela, Arrangements and Piano
Candace is currently active as pianist, author and composer as well as instructor of music in South Florida. She spent several years in the NYC Jazz and Salsa scenes working as a pianist and arranger.  Some of her NY affiliations include Art Blakey Jr., Tommy Turrentine, Juan Caliber, Jose Bello, Conjunto Casino, Charanga America, Rey Reyes among others. She relocated to South Florida to pursue graduate studies at the University of Miami and was awarded the Doctorate in Music Composition in 2000.

Fredy Lugo, Timbales and Percussion
Freddy is a driving force in the rhythm section and a pivotal  figure of RhumbaJazz Band. He’s spent several years playing conga, bongos, timbales and percussion in the NYC salsa scene before relocating to South Florida. NY affiliations include Willie Rosario, Mongo Santamaria, Batato Valdez, Tito Puente Sr., Eddie Palmieri, Cachao, Larry Harlow among others. Fredy's depth of knowledge has been valuable to RhumbaJazz Band during the rehearsal and recording process. He is always calm and soft-spoken and a voice of reason during the creative decision-making process. 

Julio Acosta, Congas
Julio Acosta's innovative playing style has been the foundation of several projects including the current RhumbaJazz Septet. Julio's relationship with Candace dates back to the lower East side of Manhattan where they created Evolution 2000, a 17-piece Latin Jazz Orchestra. When the group disbanded after concerts and recording, Julio continued as a band leader with the 2nd incarnation of Evolution 2000 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and played several shows throughout Europe. He returned to New York where he also worked for Alvin Ailey before relocating to South Florida. There he lead the third incarnation of Evolution 2000, Deja Vu, while playing gigs around South Florida. Julio received the South Florida Legends Award for "Mejor Conguero Del Ano" in 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012.  

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