Artist: Charles Ruggiero
Album: Jazz Yule Dig!
Year Of Release: 2020
Quality: FLAC (tracks)
01. Winter Wonderland
02. Christmas Time Is Here
03. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
04. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
05. I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
06. O Tannenbaum
07. What Are You Doing New Years Eve?
08. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!
09. Little Drummer Boy
Charles Ruggiero was born to be a drummer. The son of world renowned jazz musician Vinnie Ruggiero, Charles spent his early years surrounded by the “who’s who” of jazz. There was always music around, and with musicians like Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Freddie Hubbard, and Jon Hendricks coming to spend time and play, it was only a matter of time before he caught the bug and asked his father to play the “bang-bangs.”
As a teenager, Charles got serious about drumming, playing anywhere he could. Soon, local high schools and colleges, as well as professional theatre groups, and popular local bands throughout western N.Y. started to hire him. After winning a seat in the New York State All State Jazz Ensemble, music colleges came calling. Manhattan School of Music offered a full scholarship and a chance to study with famed jazz educator Justin DiCioccio, so he jumped at the chance. The jazz scene in New York City in the early 90’s was vibrant and he was plying regularly with his own “who’s who” of jazz, including Joshua Redman, Peter Bernstein, Jane Monheit, Ryan Kisor, Joel Frahm, Sam Yahel, Brad Mehldau, Myron Walden, Chris Potter, and Dwayne Burno, to name a few.
In 1994, Charles joined Chuck Mangione’s group, touring with the jazz superstar for the next 4 years. The first months of his time with Mangione provided him with the chance of a lifetime – learning the ropes, playing alongside the legendary drummer Steve Gadd. “He taught me so much, and he never uttered one word about music.” says Ruggiero.
In late 2000, former MTV/VH1 vee-jay, Abby Gennet, asked Ruggiero to play on a demo of a few of her songs, and the rock-n-roll band SLUNT was born. The band’s rise was quick. In only their second year they were on tour with Marilyn Manson. The following years found them on tour with Motorhead, Drowning Pool, and Paul Stanley (KISS) as well as releasing two albums on Repossession Records. After SLUNT Charles found himself on Ozzy Ozbourne’s Ozzfest tour, replacing drummer Matt Sorum (Guns and Roses/Velvet Revolver) as a member of Circus Diablo – a band which also featured Billy Duffy (The Cult), Brett Scallions (FUEL), Billy Morrison (Billy Idol), and Ricky Warwick (The Almighty).
2007 was a big change – Ruggiero moved to Los Angeles. He immediately began working as a session drummer, making pop and rock records. He also got back to his jazz roots, working with the finest musicians in LA including Larry Goldings, Eric Reed, Bob Sheppard, Tim Ries, Dennis Hamm, Bob Reynolds, David Ryan Harris, Laura Dickinson, Doug Webb, The Heirs, and 80’s icon Molly Ringwald. During this time he was also the head drum teacher at 311 drummer Chad Sexton’s Drum City in North Hollywood.
A brief return to NYC found Ruggiero making his debut as a bandleader. He made the list of top 100 Jazz Albums of 2015 with his first album, “Boom Bang, Boom Bang!” – a tribute to the jazz of the 70’s. His sophomore effort, “As Heard On TV,” a collection of television themes arranged for jazz trio, quartet, and quintet, reached #12 on the jazz charts. His third record, “Charles Ruggiero Meets Laura Mace,” released in 2016, met widespread acclaim, and went on to outsell the first two records despite not having a radio campaign.
Home again in his adopted Los Angeles, Charles continues to thrive. Touring and recording with stoner rock powerhouse Geezer, and Rocco DeLuca, recording for The Loop Loft, filming MyMusicMasterclass videos, teaching private lessons, gigging locally, and continued recording and releasing of his own records keep him busy.
Spring of 2019 saw the release of two new co-lead records for Ruggiero, first “Charles Ruggiero & Hilary Gardner Play The Bird & The Bee” – a jazz-trio-plus-singer take on the iconic LA indie pop duo’s music. Second will be “Slide’s Blues” – a record with Frank Basile of nine tunes arranged, and in some cases, also composed by Slide Hampton, where Slide himself guests on two tracks. Both records are on the SmallsLIVE record label.
… and in late 2020, Charles released a holiday record with Gary Matsumoto and Alex Frank called “Jazz YULE dig!”