Ivan Renta

Ivan Renta's Biography

Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and raised in Coamo, Puerto Rico, Ivan Renta has become one of the premiere saxophonists in the jazz, Latin jazz, and Latin music industries. His ability to adapt to any musical situation has landed him on stage at many of the world's most prestigious venues and music festivals. His credentials include performances and recordings with artist such as Tito Puente, Wynton Marsalis, Eddie Palmieri, Willie Colon, Ron Carter, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Heath, Ray Barreto, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and Bebo Valdez, to name a few. Renta has also performed with diverse musical acts, such as Al Jarreau and Hall & Oates. Renta has collaborated on three Grammy Award winning recordings. He is also an active music educator and clinician.

Renta began playing alto saxophone at the age of 13 in his hometown of Coamo, Puerto Rico. His band director, Luis "Wito" Santiago, recognized his talent right away promoting him to lead alto saxophone in the school band. Soon after, Ivan joined La Escuela Libre de Musica Antonio Paoli in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and began studying with Professor Willie Corps. Wanting to learn jazz Improvisation, he began private lessons with Jose "Cheguito" Encarnacion, who introduced him to jazz harmony and improvisation. When Renta first heard Miles Davis with John Coltrane's 58 Sessions, at Cheguito's house, he knew that playing saxophone was what he wanted to do.

Soon after that, he moved to New York City to attend the New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Program. While at the New School, Renta studied with jazz legends such as Reggie Workman, Gary Dial, George Garzone, and Buster Williams, to name a few. In 2000, Renta got a call to participate on Tito Puente's & Eddie Palmieri's recording, Masterpiece, which won multiple Grammy Awards and turned out to be Puente's last album.

After recording Masterpiece, Renta became a member of Eddie Palmieri's Latin jazz ensemble and salsa band. Renta accepted an invitation made to him by pianist, composer, and arranger Arturo O'Farrill to join the Jazz at the Lincoln Center's Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. After working with Mr. Palmieri for approximately six years, he proceeded to become the saxophonist for salsa legend Willie Colon's Orchestra. He has also collaborated extensively with trombonist Luis Bonilla and percussionist Chembo Corniel. He recorded his first project as a leader with pianist Edsel Gomez, bassist Ruben Rodriguez, drummer Ernesto Simpson, and percussionist Richie Flores, with special guests Giovanni Hidalgo, Luis Bonilla, and Nelson "Gazu" Jaime.

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Ivan Renta