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Ian Villafana: Bio

Born in the island of Trinidad, West Indies and exposed to music from birth mainly because of his dad, the pianist, who played a variety of styles, calypso, jazz, bossa novas, latin American, reggae and American standards. As a late teen, Ian found himself being surrounded by many talented local musicians and at that point in his life, blending his native calypso with jazz was the perfect thing to do. It was not long after that Ian was spending many hours in the recording studios, doing live shows and concerts along with television and radio shows.
Before migrating to the US with the dream of attending Berklee School of Music, Ian lived in St. Croix, USVI playing solo guitar at the Buccaneer Hotel and upright bass gigs with Jimmy Hamilton of Duke Ellington fame. It was around this time that he met jazz guitarist, Ed Cherry, and Dizzy Gillespie the day after their concert. Ed and Ian sat in his hotel room and traded guitar passages. To Ian’s surprise Dizzy walked in and invited Ian to have breakfast with them. A meal with Dizzy was a great experience, but it was Ed, this extremely talented guitarist, who pointed Ian in the right musical direction.
Ian’s hopes of attending Berklee School of Music slowly slipped away after moving to Louisiana, though he continued his studies and played mostly R&B gigs. Years later Ian met a saxophonist, Quintin Gerard W, and recorded on Quintin’s second smooth jazz album. Thereafter, they performed at the first Montgomery Jazz Festival, AL, Harrah’s Casino, a jazz trio at the House of Blues, the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center and the Tavern on the Lake in Orlando. Quintin persuaded Ian to get serious about recording his compositions, the album he now has to offer entitled ‘Epiphany’- the culmination of years of hard work, cultural and artistic influences, and many genres of music. Since then Ian has performed with Dean James at the Red Cat Jazz Café in Houston, Texas., solo at Vik’s Wheelhouse in Vallejo, CA., and the New Orleans Athletic Club with jazz vocalist, guitarist, composer Paul Christian. Ian recently performed on the I-Jams Jazz Cruise featuring Independent Recording Artists in Fort Lauderdale, FL, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Antigua, Tortola and Nassau Bahamas.
Ian is now embarking on the next phase of his musical career and will be making solo appearances in the Louisiana and Texas area, as well as performing with fellow artists all over the country.