Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Ramo, Michele, 7 string nylon fingerstyle jazz guitarist, jazz violinist, composer, educator; b. Mazara Del Vallo, Sicily, Italy, 5 May 1964. Michele (pronounced: Me-kel-ay), grew up in a small village of Borgata Costiera, population 300. His father is Vito Ramo born 1929. His mother is Caterina Pugliese-Ramo born 1932. His sister is Francesca born 1957. His brother is Carlo born 1961.
He had early guitar studies with Prof. Crescente in Mazara Del Vallo 1978, early violin studies with Prof. Figuccia 979, and early piano studies with Prof. Villani-Linares 1980.At age 13 he entered music conservatory in Trapani where he took up violin studies. He did master class studies in classical guitar with Maestro Alirio Diaz, studied violin and viola with Prof. Giuseppe Reina, piano and theory with Prof. Giuseppina Adamo, and harmony and composition with Prof Antonino Pappalardo. He's studied violin with Joseph Opitz, Teo Oloff, and Pietro Marabete. By 17 he had his first professional contract with the Italian State Symphony Opera House in Palermo -'Orchestra Del Teatro Massimo'. After one year Ramo left the orchestra to tour Europe with the International Youth Orchestra -'Le Juness Du Mediterrancee'. In 1985 he contracted with "Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana' and worked as concerts master with 'Orchestra Filarmonica del Tirreno' touring throughout Italy. Michele earned his Master's Degree In Violin Studies with the highest of honors in 1985 from the Concervatory of Caltanissetta - Italy. He performed in Master Classes with Joe Pass, Charlie Byrd, Carlos Barbosa-Lima and Baden Powell.He remained in the symphony orchestra position for five years. In 1987 at age 23, Michele quit and moved 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 the great jazz town of Detroit was his home where he was befriended by Jazz greats such as trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, pianist Harold Mckinney, drummer Roy Brooks. Soon Ramo was performing regularly with his own group. He met his future wife singer/lyricist and former Miss Michigan, Heidi Hepler (born in Lansing, Michigan) in Detroit. They began working together and were married the same year in 1994. Ramo put together a most unique trio with Michele, Heidi and Roy Brooks of guitar, voice and drums/musical saw. Ramo has performed at Jazz Festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), Molde Jazz (Norway), Fano Jazz (Italy) Montreal Jazz (Canada) Ottava Jazz (Canada), Munich, Frankfurt, Berlin, Freiburg (Germany), Paris, Ile Del Re, Souillac, (France), Montreux-Detroit Jazz (USA), Cork Jazz (Ireland), Barcelona, Madrid (Spain), Republica de Andorra, Burlington Jazz, Arkansas Jazz (USA) Athens, Corfu, Corintos, Patras (Greece) and many more. 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.
Currently Ramo is in the process of publishing a book, "Tribute to Guitar Masters" a collection of original compositions for Guitar, each written and dedicated to different guitarist greats. Ramo was proud to become an American citizen in 1998 and now holds Italian & U.S. dual citizenship. Michele and Heidi moved to New York City in 1991 where they are busy writing and performing. Ramo has performed/toured or recorded with guitarists Bucky Pizzarelli, Howard Alden, Al Caiola, Les Paul, Jorge Morel, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Wayne Wright, Jack Wilkins, Jimmy Bruno, Frank Vignola, Vinney D'Arrigo, Mark Marino, Joe Carbone, Bob Grillo; horn players Paquito D'Rivera, Marcus Belgrave, James Carter, Walter White, Walter Szymanski, Phil Lasley, George Benson, Larry Nozero, Larry Smith, Ron Blake, Johnny Trudell, Todd Curtis; pianists Harold McKinney, Dr. Teddy Harris Jr., Russ Kassoff, John DiMartino, Tommy James, Kuni Mikami, Mark Berman, Buddy Budson, Salvatore Spano, Antonio Fortunato, Bill Meyer, Ken Cox; drummers/percussionists Roy Brooks, Francisco Mora, Vince Cherico, Jimmy Madison, Miguel Gutierrez, Pedro Martinez, Dennis Sheridan, Lawrence Williams, Leonard King, Larry Fratangelo, Lorenzo "Spoons" Brown, Renee Gonzalves; bass players Rodney Whitaker, Joe Fitzerald, David Dunaway, Ralphe Armstrong, Don Mayberry, Ray McKinney, Kurt Krahnke, Dan Kolton, Remi Vignolo, Steve Kirby, Jerry Bruno, Steve La Spina, Jay Leonhart, Jaribu Shahid, Hubie Crawford; violinists Regina Carter, Pietro Marabete, Marlene Rice, Charles Wizen; Bandoneon/Accordeonists Peter Soave, Julien Labro, Frank Marocco; and harmonica players: Clay Posler, Hubie Crawford, and Enrico Granafei. He's been a member as Violinist with Symphony Orchestras such as the Teatro Massimo (Palermo, Italy 1983-84), Sinfonica Siciliana (Palermo, Italy 1985-87), Orchestra Filarmonica del Tirreno (Tuscany, Italy 1986-87), and Junes du Mediterranee (France, Spain, Italy, Greece 1984). 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 Flutist James Galway.
Tina (1988); Essence Of Romance (1990; Earth & Sun (1992); Jealousy (1992); Live At Kerrytown (1993); With Heidi Helper: Kiss My Head (1995), Felicita (2002); Full Moon Above New York City (2002); Untitled and unissued recording with Bucky Pizzarelli and Jerry Bruno (2003); Tribute to Charlie Byrd (2003); Costiera (2003)
John D. Lamb: A Novel Day (1995); Nikkos: Via Brevis (1995), Twinkle Gold (1997), Loving Green (1997), Blue Water (1997), Full Story (1999); Bucky Pizzarelli: Sonatina (2001); Nikkos: Angels Flying (2002)
Radio and television broadcasts:
RAI (Italian Radio Television Network), PBS, ABC, WDET-FM, WEMU-FM, WJR-AM
Book Published: "The Art of Bossa Nova" (1992)
A collection of original compositions for all Instruments in C concert.
Heidi Hepler & Ramo