Michéle Pugliese Ramo was born May 5th 1964 in the Italian Mediterranean fishing town of Mazara Del Vallo, Italy on the southwest coast of Sicily. Michéle (pronounced: Me-kel-ay), grew up in the small village of ‘Borgata Costiera’.
A true Classical-Jazz crossover artist – Ramo is a 6, 7, and 8 string Classical-Brazilian-Latin-Jazz guitarist, violinist, mandolinist, as well as a composer and educator. Along with his accomplishments, Ramo is the inventor of his full time playing instrument – a one-of-kind unique guitar-bass combination. Built by Luthier Rich DiCarlo, it is a 6 ½ octave instrument with 2 fretless basses.
He had early guitar studies with Prof. Giuseppe Crescente in Mazara Del Vallo 1978, early violin studies with Prof. Lorenzo Figuccia 1979, and early piano studies with Prof. Giuseppina Villani-Linares 1980.
At age 13 ½ he entered music conservatory in Trapani where he took up violin studies. He studied violin and viola with Prof. Giuseppe Reina, piano and theory with Prof. Giuseppina Adamo, and harmony and composition with Prof. Antonino Pappalardo. Ramo’s advanced violin studies continued with: Joseph Opitz, Teo Oloff and Pietro Marabete.
In only a few short years, at the age of 17 Ramo had his first professional contract with the Italian State Opera House ‘Orchestra del Teatro Massimo’ (Palermo, Italy) After one year Ramo left the orchestra to tour Europe with the International Youth Orchestra - 'Le Juness Du Mediterrancee' (France, Spain, Italy, Greece).
He contracted with ‘Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana' (Palermo, Italy), and worked also as Concert Master with 'Orchestra Filarmonica del Tirreno' touring throughout Italy.
Michéle earned his Master's Degree In Violin Studies with the highest of honors in 1985 from the Concervatory of Caltanissetta - Italy.
After five years in various Italian state symphony orchestras at age 23, Michéle, always the 'independent doer', made musical shock waves within his circles by quitting and moving 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 Detroit was his home where he was befriended by Jazz greats such as trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, pianists Harold Mckinney, Ken Cox and Teddy Harris Jr., drummers Roy Brooks and Lawrence G. Williams.
In 1994 he met and married singer-actress-lyricist and former Miss Michigan, Heidi Hepler when she returned to her home state of Michigan after living and performing a number of years in Rome, Italy.
Although Ramo did his very serious studies on violin, he played both of his instruments constantly. Thus, carrying over his violin studies, orchestral and string quartet experience to the guitar. Both violin and guitar are so intertwined into his musicality that they are a part of his nature. While still in conservatory, Ramo won a prestigious spot for master class studies in classical guitar with Maestro Alirio Diaz. He performed in Master Classes with Joe Pass, Charlie Byrd, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Baden Powell and Kenny Burrell.
Jazz Festivals include: The North Sea Jazz Festival (Holland), Molde Jazz (Norway), Fano Jazz (Italy) Montreal Jazz (Canada) Ottawa 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, International Jazz Guitar Festival (Wales, U.K.), Burlington Jazz, Arkansas Jazz (USA), Athens, Corfu, Corintos, Patras (Greece) and many more...
Ramo has Performed/Toured or Recorded with the following artists:
Guitarists: Bucky Pizzarelli, Mundell Lowe, Martin Taylor (U.K.), Howard Alden, Al Caiola, Les Paul, Gary Potter (U.K.), Trefor Owen (U.K.), John Etheridge (U.K.), Andy MacKenzie (U.K.), Tony DeCaprio, Gene Bertoncini, Jorge Morel, Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Wayne Wright, Jack Wilkins, Frank Vignola , Jimmy Bruno, Vic Juris.
Horn Players: Paquito D'Rivera, Marcus Belgrave, James Carter, Jim Seely, Donald Walden, Walter White, Walter Szymanski, Phil Lasley, George Benson, Larry Nozero, Larry Smith, Ron Blake, Johnny Trudell, Todd Curtis, Dwight Adams, Vincent York.
Pianists: Arturo O'Farrill, Yaron Gershowski, Ector Martignon, Harold McKinney, Dr. Teddy Harris Jr., Rio Clemente, Edy Martinez, Russ Kassoff, John DiMartino, Tommy James, Kuni Mikami, Mark Berman, Buddy Budson, Salvatore Spano', Antonio Fortunato, Bill Meyer, Ken Cox, Luis Resto, Tom Borshuk, Alex Rybek, Ross Paterson, Ronnie White.
Singers: Heidi Hepler, Jill O'Hara, Mary Cleere Haran, Laura Bell Bundy, Aaron Caruso and Steven Maglio, Heather Parris, Felicia Finley, Nancy Anderson, Sherri Lewis, Hugh Panaro, Terry Burrell, John Pagano, Tony Roberts, Billy Porter, Shaida Nurhullah,
Liz Callaway, Ilene Kristen, Joan Crawford.
Drummers/Percussionists: Roy Brooks, Guilherme Franco, Joe Cocuzzo, Vanderlei Pereira, Jay Dittamo, Francisco Mora, Vince Cherico, Diego Lopez, Kim Plainfield, David Silliman, Jimmy Madison, Miguel Gutierrez, Pedro Martinez, Pistol Allen, Dennis Sheridan, Lawrence G. Williams, Leonard King, Larry Fratangelo, Lorenzo "Spoons" Brown, Jamie Rusling, Renee Gonzalves, George Davidson
Bass Players: Jerry Bruno David Dunaway, Rufus Reid, Steve La Spina, Ralphe Armstrong, Rodney Whitaker, Nilson Matta, Marco Panascia, Bill Coleman (U.K.), Andy McKee, Joe Fitzgerald, Don Mayberry, Ray McKinney, Kurt Krahnke, Dan Kolton, Remi Vignolo (France), Steve Kirby, Jay Leonhart, Jaribu Shahid, Hubie Crawford,
Greg August, Peter Dominguez
Violinists: Regina Carter, Pietro Marabete, Charles Wizen.
Bandoneon/Accordeon: Peter Soave, Eddie Monteiro, Julien Labro, Art Van Damme, Frank Marocco, Alain Musichini.
Harmonica: Clay Posler, Hubie Crawford...
He has appeared on TV & Radio Broadcasts: R.A.I. (Italian Radio Television Network), PBS, ABC, WDET, WEMU, WJR, WON, WBGO and has played for artists such as: Flamenco Guitarist Carlos Montoya, Baritone Sherril Milnes, actors Jerry Lewis, Bill Cosby, singer/guitarist Jose Feliciano, and flutist James Galway.
Michéle Ramo has produced 14 recording projects as leader:
“Duets With Friends” (2011) originals & standards - featuring Bucky Pizzarelli, Jorge Morel, Mundell Lowe, Larry Nozero, Guilhermo Franco, Marcus Belgrave, Roy Brooks and Heidi Hepler.
"The Song Is You" - Tribute To Lawrence G. Williams (2008) Ramo on 8 String Guitar and Marcus Belgrave - Trumpet. Standards with some originals.
"Ramo Italian Tapestry" (2008) Michele Ramo - Solo 8 String Guitar – Italian classics
"Oh Lady Be Good" (2006) Michele Ramo - Violin, Bucky Pizzarelli - Guitar and Jerry Bruno - Bass. 20’s, 30’s & 40’s jazz classic standards.
"Mick & Mundy" (2005) in duo with jazz guitar legend Mundel Lowe and special guest singer Heidi Hepler on 'Sicily' – Standards w original
"Ramo" (2004) solo guitar – Original and standard, brazilian mix
"Felicita" (2002) with Heidi Hepler - voice and guitar duo – all original songs
"Full Moon Above New York City" (2002) Jazz Violin - all original music with
piano, bass & drums.
Currently out of print -- with portions to be re-issued:
"Kiss My Head" (1994) Live concert performances – all originals
"Live At Kerrytown" (1993) originals and standards
"Earth & Sun" (1992) with percussionist Jamie Rusling – all originals
"Jealousy" (1992) originals and standards
"Essence Of Romance" (1990) all originals
"Tina" (1988) standards and originals
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. Featured in NYC at Symphony Space with Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Birdland, Iridium Jazz Club, Michele and is wife Heidi are busy full- time as freelancers - performing, writing and teaching.