(Who was the bongo player that you heard at the beginning of the immensely popular syndicated TV show Judge Wopners Peoples Court?)
The correct answer is . . . Jorge Jose Bermudez!
Jorge Bermudez was born naked in Managua, Nicaragua. He is the youngest in a family of 6 kids. He was raised with lots of love on rice and beans in San Francisco, Calif. He now resides in Los Angeles where he is involved in many facets of the music business as a percussionist, songwriter, producer and music educator.
It was an exciting musical time in San Francisco during the late 60s and early 70s. During this era much musical magic manifested itself in San Francisco. It affected how music was felt and played on the planet earth forever. Jorge Jose enjoyed soaking up all of these varied musical flavors. 1972 found Jorge recording with guitarist Jorge Santanas Latin rock group Malo at the impressionable age of 17. He played on the now historic Dos album on the Warner Bros. record label. Bermudez laid down rhythmic accompaniment while veteran Cuban conga player Francisco Aguabella played a fiery conga solo on the song Oye Mama. 32 years later the track still sounds great. Jorge sat in on percussion with the late great Latin music icon Tito Puente at a venue in San Franciscos Fishermans Wharf area. This early musical baptism fueled a desire that helped inspire the young Nicaraguan musician to a lifetime in music.
Since then, through hard work and fierce dedication to his craft, Bermudez has toured, and or recorded with artists like Crowded House, The Grateful Dead, Tower of Power, Pablo Cruise, Jose Feliciano, Jefrey Osbourne, The Escovedo Family including the early historical days with the late Phil and Coke Escovedo, Joe Sample, Peter Case, Dusty Springfield, Johnny Mathis, The Temptations, The Gipsy Kings, Rod Stewart, David Baerwald, Santa Esmeralda, Evelyn Champagne King, Benise, Angela Bofill and many more.
In 1996 he co-led a percussion-Samba-Rumba dance ensemble with Chalo Eduardo named Samba Nova that was added to the legendary Santana band for a series of dates that lasted into 1997. Visualize the already powerful Santana band expanded with 12 percussionists, 6 sultry dancers and you get the picture of what Santana was looking and sounding like at the summer Olympics in Atlanta that year. Carlos Santanas beaming smile on stage was a testimonial to what a good time was had by all!
Those performances were a dream come true for Jorge, as he had always admired the Santana sound. This Latin sound gave fruit to a myriad of opportunities for percussionists in the U.S. You now hear percussion on everything!
Jorge is the percussionist on the worldwide smash hit single Dont Dream Its Over by multi-platinum selling recording artists, Crowded House this album was produced by Mitchell Froom. The song was featured in the Stephen King film The Stand. It is a Rock and Roll classic that is constantly heard on radio.
Mickey Hart, one of the original members of The Grateful Dead invited Jorge to record percussion parts on 2 Planet Drum CDs, Mystery Box and Supralingua. These recordings featured an amazing cast of world-renowned percussionists like Giovanni Hidalgo and Zakir Hussein. This was an honor that Jorge Jose Bermudez will never forget! This amazing cast of drummers recorded the drum anthem that was heard on NBC for the opening ceremonies of the 96 Olympics. The piece included 296 percussion parts produced and written by Mickey Hart and recorded at his ranch studio in Northern California.
He also had the honor of being Mickey Hart's personal conga instructor!
In 1986 Jorge founded the group Bermudez Triangle with the help of recently deceased sax player Cornelius Bumpus. He will always be remembered for his stellar work with The Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan. In 1988 the Bermudez Triangle recorded a bilingual dance single for Warner Brothers entitled Bongoland. The song was chosen Billboard Magazines Dance pick of the week for the week ending November 28, 1988. Jorge Bermudez and The Bermudez Triangle performed Bongolandia for a national TV audience in the spring of 1989 on the Telemundo network. Their performance took place at Calle Ocho the biggest street festival in the U.S., held in Miami annually. That year the featured act was the Gipsy Kings. They invited Jorge and his background singers onstage to help perform their classic hit Bamboleo to finish the broadcast.
The Bermudez Triangle songs have found their way onto lots of TV. The most notable shows are Desperate Housewives, The Shield, CSI-Miami, “The Elian Gonzales story” on the Fox Network, and many more. Screenwriter Duane Adler famous for his film “Save The Last Dance” included 3 Bermudez Triangle tunes in the upcoming release “ God's Waiting List”. Jorge also scored all of the music for the upcoming comedy film short “The Thief and The Piñata”. It stars Ingrid Oliu and Soledad St Hillaire of the HBO film “Real Women Have Curves”. Jorge has his acting debut as Ingrid's husband in the film. It is expected to air on cable in 07.
2006 marks the 4th year that Jorge has been performing with gorgeous Swedish singer and film actress Ann Margret all over the U.S. and in Canada. Their recent performance in New York was by far the best show ever for AM and company. New York audiences welcomed the film Icon with loving arms.
Ann Margret and company escaped Hurricane Katrina in 2005 by the skin of their teeth after performing in Biloxi, Mississippi on the evening before this tragic catastrophe. The company boarded one of the last flights on the morning of the storm. They now perform a tribute to New Orleans in the show. Ann Margret acknowledges all military veterans with a song during her show.
Jorge loves Ann Margret very much for this as he lost his beloved older brother Frank as a result of the Vietnam War.
Senor Bermudez has diversified over the years wearing many hats as a Composer/Producer, educator, columnist (Drum Magazine-Latin Beat) and musician. His instructional DVD Conga Drumming-A Beginners Guide features a cameo performance by high school percussion brother Raul Rekow of Santana fame. It can be bought all over the globe. He has done several percussion clinics with the Cuban conga, bongo legend Armando Peraza. In the summer of 2004 Jorge considers it an honor to be invited to teach percussion at The University of Taipei in Taiwan. In the summer of 2004 taught percussion at The University of Taipei in Taiwan. This spring of 2006 he teamed up with the great drummer Walfredo De Los Reyes Jr. and taught percussion at TCU outside of Dallas Ft. Worth for their highly acclaimed Latin Music Festival. Most recently Jorges percussion work can be heard on the films Kill Bill and Once Upon A Time In Mexico.
Jorge is endorsed by Sabian cymbals and Pro-Mark sticks.
El Beat Muy Grande goes on and on!
Jorge Jose Bermudez still enjoys his rice and beans!