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Ricardo Guerra is a Cuban-American drummer/percussionist, composer, and educator based in New York City. Drawing from elements of rock, jazz, and Afro-Cuban styles, his playing offers a rhythmically dynamic atmosphere of joy and freedom, creating an avenue for improvisation and creativity along the way. 

Born in a musical family in Havana, Cuba, Ricardo Guerra has been around a rich musical and percussive culture from an early age, playing claves in his father's folkloric dance and theatre groups. In these groups, he was exposed to the playing of Lazaro “Tato” Alfonso, a former member of Irakere, who taught him some of the basics of Afro-Cuban music. Soon after he began studying classical percussion and drumset, eventually landing on drumset as a primary instrument. Guerra earned his BM in Jazz Performance from Oberlin Conservatory of Music where he was mentored by percussion luminaries such as Billy Hart and Jamey Haddad, and later earned an MM in Global Jazz Performance from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, where he studied with Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, and Joe Lovano, among others.

In 2019 Guerra released the EP, Of Dreams and Realities, a collaboration featuring all original music and one Carla Bley rendition with musicians Eli Heath, Benny Bock, and Emmett Sher. Most recently, Guerra joined the global spirit rock group Billy Wylder, playing at grass roots festivals and clubs up and down New England. Among other works, he has collaborated with George Cables, Tal Cohen, River Adomeit, and most notably with the Boston Lyric Opera in their Boston premier of Champion: an Opera in Jazz by Terence Blanchard. He has been a finalist in the 2016 Generations Jazz Festival in Switzerland, a 2015 YoungArts alumnus, and a 2014 Brubeck Summer Jazz Summit alumnus. 

As a teaching artist, Guerra has led individual and group classes on drumset, percussion, and ensemble playing. Most recently, he joined Belongó (formerly The Afro Latin Jazz Alliance) where he works with public school music teachers to bring music classes to underserved communities. In his teaching, he strives to use music as a tool for intersectional communication, self empowerment, and self expression. 

Photo by Matthew Antezzo
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