Louie Cruz Beltran was born in Bakersfield, California and now resides in Los Angeles. He has crafted a musical career upon the soulful sounds of his ethnic background and flavored it with contemporary R&B, Jazz, Latin Jazz and Salsa. Steeped in music from early childhood, Beltran's first memories recall his mother singing gospel music, Mexican and Caribbean folk tunes. As early as the third grade, Beltran was playing bongos and learning the guitar.
The early recordings of artists such as Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Ray Armando, Poncho Sanchez, Francisco Aquabella and Jorge Claudio sparked Louie's interest. Captivated by the Afro-Cuban and Puerto Rican rhythms of these artists, he chose to pursue the art of percussion, specializing in the timbales, congas, bongos and Bata. "The beauty of Afro-Cuban music stole my heart," Beltran said. "I was born to play congas. I am a rumbero." It has been an honor for him to have shared the stage with most of these great artists.
During a trip to the Bay Area, Louie had the honor of meeting the legendary Coke Escovedo who was impressed by Beltran's charisma, enthusiasm and talent. Escovedo became one of Beltran's early professional mentors, inviting the young musician to perform with him on a number of occasions and encouraging him to pursue his goals.
Years later, fate would re-connect Beltran to the Escovedo family when he met and performed with Coke's brother, Pete Escovedo, at a memorial benefit for a mutual friend. Since then, Louie and Pete have shared the stage on a number of occasions and developed a deep respect for one another.
In 1978 Beltran joined the group Starrfire – an R&B/Latin Jazz ensemble - and toured throughout the United States, Europe, Scandinavia, the Middle East and Africa.
In 1990 he was honored with the placement of his composition "Pan Con Dignidad (Bread with Dignity)" in the compilation series "Who's Who of Composers."
In addition to performing regularly at popular venues such as Catalina Jazz Club and the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood, the Louie Cruz Beltran Latin Jazz/Salsa Orchestra has headlined many music festivals throughout the West Coast including the Beverly Hills and Pasadena Playboy Jazz Festivals. He also had a guest appearance with Santana at the Gibson (Universal) Amphitheatre and headlined Santana’s VIP show. His recent tours have taken him to the Boulders Resort's El Pedregal in Scottsdale,Arizona as well as the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. He welcomed in the New Year at the venerable Peninsula Hotel Beverly Hills with a standing room only performance to exceptional acclaim and will be back there next year by popular demand.
While showcasing his music at popular venues regularly, Louie continues to work as a composer, recording artist and instructor.