Vinnie Ruggiero was born in East Brooklyn in 1941. A ferocious and hard swinging drummer, he was hand picked in 1960 by Jullian "Cannonball" Adderley (who was at that time an "AR Man" for Riverside Records) to join Chuck Mangione's "Jazz Brothers."
By 1961, he was splitting time between Mangione and the acclaimed Slide Hampton Octet. A regular with rhythm and blues legend Chuck Jackson, and jazz icon Lionel Hampton, Vinnie continued to tour and record throughout the 60s with a who's who of jazz masters.
The 1970s found Vinnie sticking closer to the home and family he made in Rochester, NY. He forged a wildly successful teaching practice at home and as a faculty member of the community minded Hochstein, and Eastman Schools of Music. He was one of the rare musicians whose teaching was as good as his playing.
Steve Gadd, Kenny Washington, Joe English, Joe Labarbera, Justin Dicioccio, Joe Locke, Lew Soloff, and a host of others have sighted Vinnie as a force in their growth in music. His teaching was built on the foundation of a book he started writing in 1963. It was expanded throughout his life until his death in 1979. "The Book," as it was affectionately called, was written and developed as he taught - the book shaping his teaching and his teaching shaping the book. Pages were regularly photocopied for his students and passed around and around. This continued even after his death and is how the book gained a cult following.
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