Vocalist, guitarist, composer, arranger and band leader Luis Mario Ochoa was born in Havana, Cuba and his earliest musical influences came from his father, Luis Ochoa Sr., one of the founders of Trio Voces de Oro. Luis Mario began his musical studies at some of Havana’s most prestigious conservatories, completing them in 1987, with a degree in classical guitar from the Instituto Superior de Artes (ISA).
Embracing Toronto as his new home in 1990, Luis Mario soon formed his band Cimarrón, recording three critically acclaimed CDs. His first two – A La Cubana and La Fiesta – were some of the earliest recordings to emerge from Toronto’s Latin music scene and tracks from these CDs were featured in film and television shows such as Traders, the US production Brave New Girl and Canadian production Bailey’s Billions, as well as in the TV series The Associates. His third CD Cimarrón, includes an all-star cast of jazz and Latin musicians from Toronto as well as special guests: Paquito D’Rivera, Guido Basso and Luis’ father. In 2008, he launched the Luis Mario Ochoa Acoustic Quintet and later that year he released his CD Momentos Cubanos featuring original and classic Latin American songs. The CD reached the # 2 spot on the world music charts at Earshot Canada!
Luis Mario has been featured at most of Canada’s major jazz and world festivals, including Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax and Ottawa’s Chamberfest. International highlights include the Barbados Jazz Festival and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club in New York as a special guest of multi Grammy award winner Paquito D’ Rivera.
“With roots in Cuban popular music, Ochoa’s emotive voice and delicate touch on a nylon-stringed guitar, exhibit a change from Latin jazz standards. Ochoa has been hailed for his “…fire, finesse and authenticity” (Jazz Times) and for creating “…high caliber Latin jazz [that] cooks” (Descarg.com).
“Luis Ochoa has an exceptional voice. His soaring tenor rises above the horns and percussion, delivering the lyrics with sincerity and power.” Jazz Improv Magazine.
Luis Mario recently made Miami his second home and has put together his Miami Acoustic Quintet, which he will introduce to the Miami audience at the WDNA jazz series on October 24th followed by an October 31st performance at the Miami downtown jazz club Le Chat Noir.