Michel Camilo

Michel Camilo
Michel Camilo in action.

Michel Camilo (born April 4, 1954) is a pianist and composer from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He specializes in jazz, Latin and classical piano work. Camilo lists some of his main influences as Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, and Art Tatum.



Camilo was born into a musical family and as a young child showed aptitude for the accordion that his parents gave him. Although he enjoyed the accordion, it was his grandparents' piano that sparked his interest the most, so at aged 9 he asked his parents to buy him one. Their response was to first send him to the Elementary Music School, part of the National Conservatory, and then a year later to grant his wish.

The formal system of the music school taught Camilo to play in the classical style, and by age 16 he was playing with the National Symphony Orchestra of the Dominican Republic.[1] Camilo comments on his first encounter with the sounds of jazz, in an interview[2] with the All About Jazz website:

"The first time I heard jazz was when I was 14 and a half. I heard the great Art Tatum on the radio playing his solo piano rendition of 'Tea for Two.' That immediately caught my ear. I just wanted to soak it in, to learn to play that style. Then I found out it was jazz."

Camilo studied for 13 years at the National Conservatory, and whilst developing his strong classical abilities was also heavily influenced by the bop tradition, and by the contemporary jazz of Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea. His influences at this time also included Horace Silver, Errol Garner, and the ragtime music of Scott Joplin.

When the Harvard University Jazz Band visited the Dominican Republic and heard Camilo at a jam session, the bandleader encouraged him, 'You should be in the States', and so the idea was planted. In 1979, Camilo moved to New York to study at Mannes College and at The Juilliard School, and broke onto the international stage in 1983 when Tito Puente's pianist was unable to make a concert at the Montreal Jazz Festival. On a recommendation, without hearing him, Puente asked Camilo to play. Cuban reedman Paquito D'Rivera was in the audience and offered him a place in his band. For four years, Camilo toured internationally with D'Rivera and recorded two albums with him.

Camilo's emergence as a star in his own right began around 1985, the year he debuted with his trio at Carnegie Hall.[1] In that same year he toured Europe with Paquito D’Rivera's quintet, and recorded his first album, Why Not?, for Japan's King label. Suntan / In Trio had a trio with Anthony Jackson on the bass and Dave Weckl on the drums. In 1988, Camilo debuted on a major record label, Sony, with the release of Michel Camilo, which became a bestseller and held the top jazz album spot for ten consecutive weeks. Special guests joined in with Camilo, such as percussionist Sammy Figueroa and tap dancer Raul. Other bestselling albums followed and so did the accolades, including a Grammy and an Emmy. Camilo's collaborative 2000 album with flamenco guitarist Tomatito Spain won Best Latin Jazz Album in the first Latin Grammy Awards.

As well as being an outstanding performer, Camilo is a talented composer and has written scores for several Spanish language films including Los Peores Años de Nuestra Vida and the award-winning Amo Tu Cama Rica.

Camilo tours extensively, and lectures in Europe, the US, and in the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico. He holds several honorary degrees, a Visiting Professorship and a Doctorate at Berklee College of Music, and has been honored in his home country by being named a Knight of the Heraldic Order of Christopher Columbus, and being awarded the Silver Cross of the Order of Duarte, Sanchez & Mella.

Association with other musicians

Camilo's regular trio lineup for many years were his long-term friends Anthony Jackson on contrabass guitar and El Negro (Horacio Hernandez) on drums. Charles Flores has occupied the trio's bass seat since their Grammy winning album Live at the Blue Note. Lately Camilo has drummer Dafnis Prieto as part of his trio. This new trio released the album, Spirit of the Moment in April 2007.

Other notable musicians he has played with include Tito Puente, Paquito D'Rivera, Dizzy Gillespie, Katia Labèque, Toots Thielemans, Airto Moreira, Chuck Mangione, Stanley Turrentine, Claudio Roditi, Nancy Alvarez, Mongo Santamaría, George Benson, Eddie Palmieri, Jon Faddis, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Lew Soloff, Tania Maria, Jaco Pastorius, Patato, Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker, Chuck Loeb, Giovanni Hidalgo, Guarionex Aquino, Wynton Marsalis, Dave Valentin, Flora Purim, Delfeayo Marsalis, Chucho Valdés, Joe Lovano, Herbie Hancock, Tomatito, John Patitucci, David Sanchez, Hiromi, Cachao, Marcus Roberts, Steve Gadd, Danilo Perez, Gary Burton, Billy Taylor, Dave Weckl, Hilton Ruiz, Roy Hargrove, Romero Lubambo, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Leny Andrade, Bireli Lagrene, Marian McPartland, Leonard Slatkin, Arturo Sandoval, Aisha Syed Castro, Béla Fleck.


  • 1984 - French Toast (album) (w/ French Toast)
  • 1985 - Why Not?
  • 1986 - Suntan/In Trio
  • 1988 - Michel Camilo
  • 1989 - On Fire
  • 1990 - On The Other Hand
  • 1991 - Amo Tu Cama Rica (Soundtrack)
  • 1993 - Rendezvous
  • 1994 - One More Once
  • 1996 - Two Much (soundtrack)
  • 1997 - Hands of Rhythm (w/ Giovanni Hidalgo)
  • 1997 - Thru My Eyes
  • 2000 - Spain
  • 2001 - Calle 54 (Soundtrack)
  • 2002 - Piano Concerto, Suite & Caribe
  • 2002 - Triangulo (album)
  • 2003 - Live at the Blue Note
  • 2005 - Solo
  • 2006 - Rhapsody In Blue
  • 2006 - Spain Again (album)
  • 2007 - Spirit of the Moment (April 24, 2007)
  • 2009 - Caribe - Michel Camilo Big Band (September 15, 2009 - DVD/CD released in Spain)
  • 2011 - Mano A Mano


  1. ^ a b "Michel Camilo: Biography". All About Jazz. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/musician.php?id=3848. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 
  2. ^ De Luke, R J (2004-03-01). "Michel Camilo: Pianist for a Golden Era". All About Jazz. http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/article.php?id=1070. Retrieved 2010-05-18. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Michel Camilo — (* 4. April 1954 in Santo Domingo, Dominikanische Republik) ist ein zeitgenössischer Pianist und Komponist im Jazz und Klassikgenre. Außerdem betätigt er sich als Produzent und gewann mehrere Grammys und einen Emmy …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Michel Camilo — (4 avril 1954 à Santo Domingo) est un pianiste de jazz originaire de la République dominicaine. À cinq ans, il compose son premier morceau, et à seize ans il intègre l Orchestre Symphonique National de République dominicaine. À 19 ans, il part… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Michel Camilo — Este artículo o sección sobre música y biografías necesita ser wikificado con un formato acorde a las convenciones de estilo. Por favor, edítalo para que las cumpla. Mientras tanto, no elimines este aviso puesto el 2 de marzo de 2010. También… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Michel Camilo (album) — Michel Camilo Studio album by Michel Camilo Released 1988 Genre Latin jazz Producer …   Wikipedia

  • On Fire (Michel Camilo album) — On Fire Studio album by Michel Camilo Released 1989 Genre Latin jazz Producer Miche …   Wikipedia

  • On Fire (The Michel Camilo album) — Infobox Album Name = On Fire Type = studio Artist = Michel Camilo Released = 1989 Genre = Latin jazz Label = Producer = Michel Camilo Reviews = Last album = Michel Camilo (1988) This album = On Fire (1989) Next album = On The Other Hand (1990)… …   Wikipedia

  • Rendezvous (The Michel Camilo album) — Infobox Album Name = Rendezvous Type = studio Artist = Michel Camilo Released = Start date|1993|5|11 Genre = Latin jazz Length = 49:00 Label = Columbia Producer = Michel Camilo, Julio Marti Reviews = Last album = On The Other Hand (1990) This… …   Wikipedia

  • Camilo — as a forename may refer to:*Camilo From SLIC Sri Lanka. 0714754813, Nicaraguan anti war activist *Camilo Cienfuegos, Cuban revolutionary *Camilo Torres Restrepo, Colombian Roman Catholic priest *Camilo Henríquez, Chilean priest, author and… …   Wikipedia

  • Camilo — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Ademir Camilo (* 1964), brasilianischer Politiker Michel Camilo (* 1954), Pianist und Komponist im Jazz und Klassikgenre Milton Camilo (* 1970), brasilianischer Tänzer, Choreograph und Maler Tiago Camilo… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Camilo Sesto — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Camilo Sesto Información personal Nombre real Camilo Blanes Cortés Nacimiento 16 de septiembre de 1946 (63 años) …   Wikipedia Español

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”