Bucky Pizzarelli, Les Paul, Paquito D’Rivera, Bunny Brunel, Rufus Reid, Andy McKee, Mundell Lowe, Martin Taylor
Michéle (pronounced "Me-kel-ay") was born Michele Pugliese-Ramo in the Mediterranean fishing town of Mazara Del Vallo, Italy–on the coast of Sicily. He grew up in a small village of 300. His playgrounds were vast grape-vineyards, rocky hillsides and olive orchards… sheep & rock lizards. He played guitar with the barbers in the little town square and hid his school books in the fields of ancient volcanic caves because he only wanted to 'play music'–not go to school! At age 13 he entered music conservatory where he took up violin studies. By 17 he had his first professional contract with the Italian State Opera House, "Teatro Massimo" in Palermo.
After five years in various Italian state symphony orchestras, at age 23, Michéle, always the 'independent doer', made musical shock waves within his circles by quitting and moving to the United States to pursue his work as a composer and instrumentalist in jazz. His first stop: New York City. Unable to speak English and soon out of money he went to Detroit where he knew a friend from his town. For the next twelve years Detroit was his home where he was befriended by Jazz greats such as trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, pianists Harold Mckinney, Ken Cox and Teddy Harris Jr., drummers Roy Brooks and Lawrence G. Williams. It was here he continued on the guitar and put the violin away for ten years. He met singer Heidi Hepler who had been living and performing in Rome, Italy… She heard the violin one day… Well, it is out of the case now!
Ramo has performed/toured or recorded with: Bucky Pizzarelli, Les Paul, Paquito D'Rivera, Bunny Brunel, Rufus Reid, Andy McKee, Mundell Lowe, Martin Taylor (UK), Howard Alden, Marcus Belgrave, James Carter, Jim Seely, Arturo O'Farrill, Yaron Gershowski, Ector Martignon, Harold McKinney, Jill O'Hara, Laura Bell Bundy, Felicia Finley, Nancy Anderson, Roy Brooks, Guilherme Franco, Joe Cocuzzo, Rodney Whitaker, Nilson Matta, Bill Coleman (UK), Regina Carter, Pietro Marabete, Peter Soave, Eddie Monteiro, Clay Posler, and many others.
Before moving to the USA, Ramo was a violinist with Symphony Orchestras such as: EATM Teatro Massimo (Palermo, Italy), EAOSS Sinfonica Siciliana (Palermo, Italy), ORFIT Orchestra Filarmonica del Tirreno (Tuscany, Italy), Le Junes du Mediterranee (France, Spain, Italy, Greece).
He has appeared on TV and radio broadcasts: RAI (Italian Radio Television Network), PBS, ABC, WDET-FM, WEMU-FM, WJR-AM, WON.
Ramo has been invited to play for artists such as: Flamenco guitarist Carlos Montoya, baritone singer Sherril Milnes, Jerry Lewis, Bill Cosby, singer/guitarist Jose Feliciano, and flautist James Galway.
Ramo has recorded 14 albums as leader. These titles are currently sold out and out of print: "Tina" 1988; "Essence Of Romance" 1990; "Jealousy" 1992; "Earth & Sun" 1992; "Live At Kerrytown" 1993; "Kiss My Head" 1994.
His new releases as composer/performer are: "Duets with Friends" (2011), with Ramo on 6 & 8-string guitar, featuring Bucky Pizzarelli, Mundell Lowe, Jorge Morel (Guitars), Marcus Belgrave (Trumpet), Larry Nozero (Flute & Clarinet), Roy Brooks, Guilhermo Franco (Percussion), Heidi Hepler (Voice); "The Song Is You" (Tribute To Lawrence G. Williams, 2008) Ramo on 8-string guitar, with Marcus Belgrave on trumpet; "RAMO Italian Tapestry" (2008) solo 8-string Guitar; "Oh Lady Be Good" (2006) Ramo on violin, Bucky Pizzarelli, guitar and Jerry Bruno, bass; "Mick & Mundy" (2005) duo with jazz guitar legend Mundel Lowe and special guest singer Heidi Hepler on 'Sicily'; "Ramo" (2004) solo guitar; "Felicita" (2002) voice and guitar duo with Heidi Hepler; "Full Moon Above New York City" (2002) jazz violin with piano, bass and drums.
Mel Bay Publishing published his Book/CD "Tribute to Guitar Masters" for solo classical and jazz guitar. And just this year (2011), Ramo Music Publishing just published a new Book/CD called "The Music of Michele Ramo: 12 Originals for Classical & Fingerstyle Jazz Guitar."
Ramo and his group have been featured at concert events along with world renowned artists including Yo Yo Ma, James Galway, Ertha Kitt, Barbara Cook, James Levine and the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.
photo: Jeffrey Hertzlich