Mekiel-Ruben-5

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The Chicago born native became interested in music at the early age of eight when his mom gave him a guitar for Christmas. At the age of 15 he began studying music and woodwinds under Louis Gray, high school band director (Crane HS). . His first performance was playing at a high school graduation, and he says he was greatly influenced by Grover Washington Jr.,The Crusaders, Earth,Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder. He moved to the Caribbean, St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands as a teenager where he continued to pursue his musical career. He studied privately in St. Croix with jazz woodwinds player James (Jimmy) Hamilton, a 27 year veteran of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Mekiel says, I use to watch Hamilton perform from the back of the club where I worked. Then we became friends and he taught me the Art of Reservation, and how to enhance my playing style. Mekiel explained. He also studied with Benny Jacob El (a graduate of Julliard School of Music) and while living in St. Croix he learned calypso, reggae, Latin and other Caribbean rhythms. After several years of touring and playing with several theatrical/dance companies in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Mekiel returned to the United States and resided in Los Angeles, CA. for 33 years before returning back to St. Croix U.S. Virgin Islands.

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