William Cepeda - trombone, composer, producer
William Cepeda comes from a well known family rooted in music. The Familia Cepeda is famous for their performances of folkloric music with African roots, the ‘Bomba,’ and as keepers of traditional Puerto Rican music for many years. The legendary Cepedas’ have produced many of Puerto Rico's most respected Afro-Rican percussionists, singers, dancers, composers and instrumentalists. Now, in William Cepeda, the young multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger who was nurtured by the twin spirits of bomba and bebop, Puerto Rico's potent rhythms and entrancing melodies radiate out to enthrall an international audience hungry for new Latin sounds.
Despite his family’s intimate association with folkloric music, as a soloist Cepeda went his own way. His interest in jazz and great talent has enabled him to develop a unique jazz style which he calls “Afrorican Jazz”. The music is a fusion of jazz with the musical themes so prevalent in the folk music he grew up with.
Born in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Cepeda was immersed in the rhythms and melodies of the native danza, bomba and plena and even the folk music of the jibaro. With this background and family history, he started playing percussion with friends by age ten. In his teens, Cepeda picked up the trombone and got an early start as a professional musician.
Cepeda’s formal musical training includes BA degrees from Berklee College of Music in Boston and from the Conservatory of Music in Puerto Rico. He also attended the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in New York, on a full scholarship, where he was awarded a Master’s Degree in Jazz Performance. The training exposed Cepeda to some of the greatest jazz musicians and taught him complexities of jazz improvisation and composition. He studied and played with such notable jazz musicians as Slide Hampton, Donald Byrd, David Murray, and others. He also played and recorded with Latin music artists such as Oscar De Leon, Paquito d’Rivera, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri. When he is not touring, Cepeda is busy in the recording studio. As a recording artist, he appears on over 100 recordings as well as jingles and movie soundtracks.