"When I first played Theo Wanne's Mantra Tenor mouthpiece I was immediately convinced this was the mouthpiece I've been searching for. Finally a mouthpiece versatile enough to adapt to any musical setting. Thank you Theo for your innovative designs and flawless craftsmanship"
Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and raised in Coamo, Puerto Rico, Ivan Renta has become one of the premiere saxophonists in the Jazz, Latin Jazz and Latin Music Industry. His ability to adapt to any musical situation has landed him on stage at many of the world’s most prestigious venues and music festivals. His credentials include performances and recordings with artists such as Tito Puente, Wynton Marsalis, Eddie Palmieri, Willie Colon, Ron Carter, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Heath, Ray Barreto, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and Bebo Valdez, to name a few. Mr. Renta has also performed with such diverse musical acts as Al Jarreau and Hall & Oates. Mr. Renta has collaborated on three Grammy Award winning recordings. Mr. Renta is also an active Music Educator and Clinician.
Ivan Renta began playing Alto Sax at the age of 13 in his hometown of Coamo, Puerto Rico. His band director, Luis "Wito" Santiago, recognized his talent right away promoting him to lead Alto Sax in the school band. Soon after, Ivan joined “la Escuela Libre de Musica Antonio Paoli” in Caguas, Puerto Rico and began studying with Professor Willie Corps. Wanting to learn Jazz Improvisation he began private lessons with Jose "Cheguito" Encarnacion who introduced him to Jazz Harmony and Improvisation. "When I first heard Miles Davis with John Coltrane's "58 Sessions" at Cheguito's house, I knew that this was what I wanted to do." Renta recalls.
Soon after that he moved to NYC to attend the "New School Jazz and Contemporary Music Program". While at the New School, Ivan studied with Jazz legends such as Reggie Workman, Gary Dial, George Garzone, Buster Williams to name a few. In 2000 Ivan got a call to participate on Tito Puente & Eddie Palmieri's recording "Masterpiece" winner of multiple Grammys and what turned out to be Puente's last album.
After recording “Masterpiece”, Mr. Renta became a member of Eddie Palmieri’s Latin Jazz Ensemble and Salsa Band. Mr. Renta accepted an invitation made to him by pianist/composer/arranger Arturo O’Farrill to join the Jazz at the Lincoln Center’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. After working with Mr. Palmieri for approximately six years, he proceeded to become the saxophonist for Salsa legend Willie Colon’s Orchestra. He has also collaborated extensively with trombonist Luis Bonilla and percussionist Chembo Corniel. He recently recorded his first project as a leader with pianist Edsel Gomez, bassist Ruben Rodriguez, drummer Ernesto Simpson and percussionist Richie Flores with special guests Giovanni Hidalgo, Luis Bonilla and Nelson “Gazu” Jaime. It is scheduled to be released in September of 2013.
Why did you choose to become a musician?
I grew up around music! My family is full of amateur musicians and we would always play and sing during family events. My first instrument was the piano at age 5, then guitar at age 9. I started playing saxophone in my hometowns marching band when i was 13 years old, and fell in love with it. I started taking private lessons with a local saxophonist and one day he played for me a Miles Davis record "58 Sessions" with John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Paul Chambers and Jimmy Cobb. When i heard the first track "On Green Dolphin St", I knew I wanted to play music for the rest of my life!!