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Charles Ruggiero

Charles Ruggiero was born to be a drummer. The son of world renowned jazz musician Vinnie Ruggiero, Charles spent his early years surrounded by the “who’s who” of Jazz. There was always music around, and with musicians like Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Freddie Hubbard, and Jon Hendricks coming to spend time and play, it was only a matter of time before he caught the bug and asked his father to play the “bang-bangs”.

As a teen Charles got serious about drumming, playing anywhere he could. He knew he was onto something when other high schools, local colleges, professional theatre groups and popular local bands throughout western N.Y. started to hire him. After a knock out audition won him seat in the New York State All State Jazz Ensemble, every music college in the U.S. came calling. When Manhattan School of Music offered a full scholarship and a chance to study with famed jazz educator Justin DiCioccio, Charles jumped at the chance. His time at MSM proved invaluable. New York City in the early 90’s was alive with jazz, and he was cutting his teeth with current jazz luminaries Joshua Redman, Peter Bernstein, Ryan Kisor, Stefon Harris, Brad Mehldau, Myron Walden, Chris Potter, and Dwayne Burno, to name a few.

In 1993, Charles landed the gig with Chuck Mangione, touring with the jazz superstar for the next 4 years. After leaving Mangione’s band, Charles played in various projects, concentrating on small group jazz again. He could be found in and around NYC playing drums nightly at Smoke, Smalls, The Blue Note, Cleopatra’s Needle, et al, with the likes of Phil Harper, Eric Alexander, Ian Hendrickson-Smith, Frank Wess, Wayne Escoffery, Jeremy Manasia, Grant Stewart, Joel Frahm, Jane Monheit, Jeremy Pelt, Spike Wilner… and the list goes on, and on… and on.

At the end of the year 2000, former MTV/VH1 vee-jay, Abby Gennet, asked Ruggiero to play on a demo of a few of her songs, and the rock-n-roll band SLUNT was born. The band’s rise was quick. In only their second year they were on tour with Marilyn Manson. The following years found them on tour with Motorhead, Drowning Pool, and Paul Stanley (KISS) as well as releasing two albums on Reposession Records. After SLUNT Charles found himself on Ozzy Ozbourne’s Ozzfest tour, replacing drummer Matt Sorum (Guns and Roses/Velvet Revolver) as a member of Circus Diablo – a band which also featured Billy Duffy (The Cult) Brett Scallions (FUEL) Billy Morrison (Billy Idol) and Ricky Warwick (The Almighty).

2008 saw Ruggiero relocate to Los Angeles. He immediately began working as a recording session drummer, making pop and rock records. He also got back to his jazz roots by playing live and recording with the finest musicians in LA. Larry Goldings, Eric Reed, Bob Sheppard, John Campbell, Tim Ries, Melissa Morgan, Tom Warrington, Dennis Hamm, Darryl Jones, Bob Reynolds, David Ryan Harris, and The Heirs all made music with Charles as their drummer, while he blazed his trail out west. He also taught drums at 311 drummer Chad Sexton’s Drum City in North Hollywood.

In the fall of 2013 Charles made his long awaited move back to NYC, and started working with 80’s icon Molly Ringwald.

Early 2015 brought the debut of Ruggiero as a leader on record as he released “Boom Bang, Boom Bang!” a tribute to the jazz of the 70’s, and in the fall he will release his sophomore effort, “As Heard On TV” a collection of television themes arranged for jazz trio, quartet, and quintet.