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#106 Tony Escapa- Drummer for Ricky Martin and More!

#106 Tony Escapa- Drummer for Ricky Martin and More!

Photo of Tony Escapa taken by Eduardo Martinez.

Today’s guest, Tony Escapa IV, was born in San Juan, PR. His father a professional pianist and mother a TV Host. It was clear at a young age that passion and talent where a part of him. At age 9 Tony started guitar lessons, but those where short lived as he found his true passion on a Yamaha drum set that was in the same studio as the lessons. Tony quickly sat on the drums and began to play away with no initial training. His father was astounded and preceded to purchase Tony a practice pad, some sticks and said: " in order to get a drum set, you have to prove to me that you will take drumming seriously ". Tony had to learn rudiments and practice for at least two hours a day to prove him self worthy of a drum set. His father however, did not really know was he was getting into only since Tony would practice not for two but from four to eight hours a day.  

Tony took private lessons from some of Puerto Rico's best musicians and teachers very early. But the lessons where just like the icing on the cake since little Tony would always be by his father's side in gigs or rehearsal's with legendary artist in the business even before he could walk…That being the spark that ignited Tony's passion for music today.  

One of the songs Tony played on that Damon was talking about can be found HERE.

Gig Alerts for this week…..

Coachella released its line-up, The CES festival is going on in Las Vegas, The NAMM Show is going on at the end of the month, Marcos will be playing at the Brooklyn Bowl with the Atomic Funk Project for their “Divas of Soul” show, and Check your local PAS Chapter for upcoming events like the Day of Percussion.

Product review for this week…..

The Roland VR-1HD AV streaming mixer for people who host podcasts or live streams or any multi-camera/multi-sound source content. is a music education initiative who’s goal is to make complex music accessible through technology and visualization.

Our Educational Spotlight for this week…..

The community of musicians over at Soundslice. Check out libraries of transcribed music or create your own. You can even use this with teaching students (or yourself).

Shoutout to Latin Big Bands like Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Dafnis Prieto’s Big Band, and even Horacio “el Negro” Hernandez’s Italuba Big Band. That brings us to our…..

Iconic Recording, “Paris Mambo” by Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri from the album Obra Maestra.

Music News for this week…..

Coachella Introduces Anti-Harassment Measures Amidst Rising Sexual Assault Reports, Broadway Smashes Records With More Than $1.8 Billion In Annual Revenues (added bonus, some of the best shows on Broadway right now), and 10 Ways to De-stress in the New Year.

The song leading into Tony’s interview is “Mi Ritmo es Candela” from the Abriendo Camino album by Paoli Mejias.

Tony was born in Puerto Rico. When he wasn’t admitted to the Escuela Libre De Musica, he moved to Orlando Florida with his father Tony Escapa III, and was a part of the Lake Howell High Schools music program. Tony (sr.) played and continues to play with several groups. Some previous groups were Off Kilter at Disney and Menudo.

Tony mentions some of the folkloric music of Puerto Rico like Bomba and Plena. One of his first mentors is percussionist Dimas Sanchez (you can read more about him HERE). Once finishing high school, Tony moved back to P.R. and played with percussionists like Anthony Carillo and Cachete Maldonado among others.

Tony got a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music, and then left school to tour with the violinist Alfredo De La Fe.

Two of the first people Tony met when he joined the band with Alfredo De La Fe were Little Johnny Rivero and Jose Grajales.

One of the solos Marcos brings up that Tony performed mixing drums and timbales together can be seen below…..

Tony brings up the “Viva La Salsa” concert where he was playing drums and flanked by some amazing percussionists. He talks about having to drive the band, but not get in the way of the other percussionists.

Tony mentions using Robby Ameen’s playing with Ruben Blades as an inspiration for playing drumset in music that doesn’t traditionally have a drumset involved. Marcos chimes in to talk about how Robby developed some of the vocabulary he used.

Tony also mentions getting inspiration from Cuban drummers like: Horacio “el Negro” Hernandez, Ignacio Berroa, Jimmy Branly, & Raul Pineda (and the band Tony mentions Sintesis)

Tony recorded on Miguel Bose’s MTV Unplugged concert and if you want to watch all the parts of that, CLICK HERE. The percussionist that Tony and Marcos refer to is Yuri Nogueira.

Tony is big on extreme sports. A couple of the sports he participates in are competition paddle boarding and mountain biking.

The movie Tony made a cameo in is called The Other Woman with Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton.

The song leading out of the interview is “Yo Soy Tamborero” from from the Abriendo Camino album by Paoli Mejias.

#107 Paoli Mejias- Percussionist for Santana, Eddie Palmieri and More!

#107 Paoli Mejias- Percussionist for Santana, Eddie Palmieri and More!

#105 Royal Hartigan- Drummer, Percussionist, Educator & Author!

#105 Royal Hartigan- Drummer, Percussionist, Educator & Author!