Gerardo “Jerry” Velez is a legendary percussionist based in Honolulu.
The year was 1969….the place was the Woodstock Music and Art Festival.
Gerardo “Jerry “Velez said “It was my Birthday, and my first professional performance, and I was playing with the greatest guitarist in Rock and Roll History Jimi Hendrix….what a weekend!!”
The right place at the right time has guided Gerardo’s legacy in life. Mr. Velez went on to perform with such luminaries as David Bowie, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Destiny’s Child, Stevie Nicks, Chaka Khan, Marc Anthony and countless others. Then he was poised for greatness as an original member of the Best Selling Contemporary Jazz Groups of all time Spyro Gyra, garnering multiple Gold and Platinum recording awards, also best new group of 1978, several number one hit songs, Billboard Magazine’s Jazz Band of the 80’s….and 14 Grammy Nominations.
Mr. Velez’s event company Gerardo Velez Productions (GVP) has been producing hundreds of shows and events since 1981. Nationally and internationally creating events, gala’s, concerts, festivals for such clients as New York Stock Exchange, The Security Traders Association of New York, Bank of America, H.B.O., Comedy Central, and SAP Software. Time Warner, Donna Karan, Chopard Jewelry, Mirimax Films, and Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino just to mention a few.
His range in Music continues as a musical supervisor and director for Conde Nast Travelers Awards, United Way’s 25th. Anniversary , National Football League Properties working with Rap, Rand B, and country superstars…Buster Rhymes , Destiny’s Child, Terry Bradshaw, Tim McGraw , Jerry Rice, 98 Degrees, Isaac Hayes, each song coupled an athlete with a musician.
To fulfill the need for change and spectacle in Las Vegas Mr. Velez was empowered to create the concepts, music, choreography, as Artistic and Music Director for several new establishments that became the place to be ,and be seen, The “ China Grill”, “ Rock Lobster” , “Red Square “,and the famous “Rum Jungle “ which was voted the most popular venue for three consecutive years in Las Vegas at the famed Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Mr. Velez also performed and promoted at Venues such as MGM Grand, Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Harley Davidson café, Luxor, Rio, and Tao Resorts.
Mr. Velez’s charitable work endeavors have been legendary having collaborated with Ex. President William Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Queen Nora, Lady Ferguson Duchess of York, Dan Rather, Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson, Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev ….and other worldly power brokers.
Mr. Velez created the concepts wrote the treatment and episodes , original music and had optioned for development several situation comedies to Embassy Television owned by Norman Lear the creator of “All in the Family”, “The Jefferson’s” , “Who’s the Boss”, “Different Strokes” and other groundbreaking and award winning television programs.
Through his 45 years in entertainment Mr. Velez has been the spokesperson for such music related companies as, Latin Percussion, Roland Electronics, Zildjian Cymbal Co., Rhythm Tech, Remo Percussion, Yamaha drums and sound equipment. His gift is his ability to enhance and represent a manufactures product with clarity and charisma which has kept him in high demand for clinics, lectures, and performances.
Since moving to Hawaii Mr. Velez has only selected work with a few charities and events, such as headlining the Pro-Bowl Block party event, as well as performing at the Pro-Bowl game during the televised portion. Also Make a Wish Foundation Hawaii 30th Anniversary Gala, Boys Bunch April Foolish Event the largest fund raising Gala in Hawaii. Mr. Velez has performed with the who’s who of Hawaii Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, Uncle Willie K, Makana , Henry Kapono and “C and K, “and Jack Johnson.
Mr. Velez is the Executive of the Board of Governors for American Society of Young Musicians New York Chapter, and has now created a new chapter in Hawaii to help the youth of today become the leaders of music into the future.