From birth, Charly Schwartz Rodriguez has had Latin music pulsing through his veins. The son of a Cuban duo whose dance moves are legendary, Charly was already playing the piano at age five. For ten years, he learned classical piano from a Cuban instructor in Elizabeth, NJ, and was regularly evaluated by members of National Guild of Piano Teachers. Charly was introduced to the NY salsa scene as teen, spending many Monday nights in the 80’s with his father at the “Salsa Meets Jazz” series at the Village Gate – a vibe that no NYC club has since matched.
Charly played drums in primary school, but did not own timbales until receiving them as a gift from friends on his twenty-fourth birthday. Soon after, he was sitting in on jam sessions after work at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, and within a year he was playing timbales professionally. In Atlanta, Charly played salsa (his first love) with Orquesta Taboga, Orquesta RumbaBrava, and Orquesta NovaSound, and ventured into Latin Jazz with World Mambo Mission (on congas).
Charly returned to New York City’s Latin music scene in 2000. He studied at the Harbor Conservatory for the Performing Arts in Spanish Harlem, and has played timbales with Sonido Isleño, Grupo Latin Vibe, Latin Vibe Sextet, La Onda Va Bien, Los Bandidos, El Desayuno, Rico Vibes, Spanglish Fly and Fulaso. Charly also leads East River Latin Jam, a Latin Jazz quintet.
Charly dedicates his performances to his mother, Susy Rodriguez Schwartz, who is certainly still dancing to these sounds in heaven.