Acuna, Alex

  • Birth name: Alejandro Neciosup Acuña
  • AKA: Alex Acuna
  • Born: December 12, 1944 Pativilca, Peru
  • Genres: Jazz, jazz fusion, pop, Afro-Cuban jazz
  • Occupation: Musician
  • Instruments: Drums, percussion
  • Labels: Tzadik
  • Associated Acts: Weather Report, Koinonia, Elvis, Diana Ross, Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Chick Corea, Whitney Houston, Plácido Domingo, former Weather Report bandmates Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Beck, Roberta Flack, U2, Al Jarreau, Marcos Witt.
  • On the Web: Interview

Peruvian born drummer Alex Acuna played in local bands from the age of ten and moved to Lima as a teenager. At the age of eighteen he joined the Perez Prado band, and in 1966 he moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In 1974 Alex moved to Las Vegas, working with artists such as Elvis Presley and Diana Ross, and the following year he joined the jazz-fusion group Weather Report, appearing on the albums Black Market and Heavy Weather.

Alex left Weather Report in 1978, and became a session musician in California, recording and playing live with Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Chick Corea, Whitney Houston, Plácido Domingo, former Weather Report bandmates Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Beck, Roberta Flack, U2, Al Jarreau, Marcos Witt to name only a few!

He can also be found on recordings by musicians as culturally diverse as Lee Ritenour, Johnny Clegg, Roy Orbison, YellowJackets, Lalo Schiffrin, Milton Nascimento, Don Grusin, Dave Grusin, The Brecker Brothers, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito d’Rivera, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Brad Mehldau, Paco de Lucia, John Patitucci, Sadao Watanabe, Lyle Mays, Diana Ross, Sergio Mendez, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne, Bette Midler, Jennifer Nettles, Christina Aguilera, Seal, and Chris Botti.

In the 1980s Alex also recorded and toured with the Christian jazz band Koinonia, which featured session musicians Abraham Laboriel, Justo Almario, Hadley Hockensmith, Harlan Rogers, Bill Maxwell and he played on Willy DeVille’s Crow Jane Alley album.

In 1987 he teamed up with Elvis Presley’s TCB Band for the Roy Orbison TV special “A Black and White Night”. He also played percussion on Blondie’s number one hit “The Tide Is High,” and recorded more than 300 movies under the direction of lalo Shiffrin, Dave Grusin, Michelle Legrand, Bill Conti, James Horner, James Newton Howard, John Williams, Alan Silvestri, Michael Giacchino, Christopher Beck, Maurice Jarre, Steve Jablonsky, John Powell, and Heitor Pereira.

In 1987, Alex was summoned back to Perú by producer Ricardo Ghibellini to be the musical producer of Los Hijos del Sol, a supergroup of Peruvian prodigies designed to promote Peruvian music worldwide.

In addition, he has worked as an educator at University of California, Berklee College of Music,  LAMA, Musicians Institute, USC, and CSUN.

Check out these videos of Alex in action on YouTube…

Click here to watch YouTube videos.

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