Basic Background Info

Birth: 1933
Location: Havana, Cuba
Band: Julio Gutierrez, Cuban bassist Israel Lopez, Santana, Zoot Sims, Denny Drew, Philly Joe Jones, Tito Puente, Tito Rodriguez, José Fajardo, Sammy Davis Jr., Paul Anka, Jerry Vale, Milton Berle, Bobby Darin, Liberace, Wayne Newton, Linda Ronstadt, Josephine Baker, Tony Bennett, Xavier Cugat
Genres: Jazz, Cuban, Latin
Instruments: Drums
Occupation: Musician



Walfredo de los Reyes Sr. is world-renowned for his drumming and percussion skills. Walfredo Reyes Sr. accolades include recordings and performances in the United States and Cuba.

Walfredo Reyes Sr. immigrated from Havana, Cuba, to New York City as a child. Walfredo Reyes Sr. began playing drums and percussion when he was fourteen years old, influenced by big band drummers Louis Bellson ad Buddy Rich. Walfredo Reyes Sr. and other Latin artists combined emerging be-bop rhythms with Cuban drumming into a unique sound. Always influenced by his Cuban origin, Walfredo Reyes Sr. incorporated congas, timbales, and cowbells into his drum set.

Armed with the innovative rhythms of New York City, Walfredo Reyes Sr. returned to Cuba and played for a television staff orchestra between 1954 and 1960. This brought him opportunities to perform with esteemed Cuban and Mexican artists as well as Spanish flamenco dancers. While playing in jazz bands in Cuba, Walfredo Reyes Sr. was often required to also play North American, Spanish, and Argentine styles.

Walfredo Reyes Sr. was part of two groundbreaking descarga albums coordinated by Julio Gutierrez. "It was a true descarga: There was no written music involved." Although Walfredo was never paid for those recordings, they received a lot of attention and brought Walfredo Reyes Sr. further work.

Along with many other Cuban musicians, Walfredo Reyes Sr. left Cuba again in the early 1960s. Walfredo Reyes Sr. and his children stayed in New York for about eighteen months before moving to Puerto Rico, where he performed at the San Juan Intercontinental Hotel. In 1970, Walfredo Reyes Sr. moved to Las Vegas to play drums in Latin Fire Revue for two years. Walfredo Reyes Sr. also played in the house band at the Desert Inn and toured with Abbey Lane. And for 21 years, Walfredo toured and performed with the legendary Wayne Newton. Also while in Las Vegas, Walfredo collaborated with Louie Bellson on Ritmos Cubanos.

After living in Vegas, Walfredo Reyes Sr. and his second wife moved to Northern California, where they reside today.


Album Year Album Name Album Band
1976 Frontera Strunz& Farah
1977 Ecue Ritmos Cubanos Louis Bellson with Walfredo de Los Reyes
1977 Universe Universe
1979 Side Track Louis Bellson
1984 Crazy Bird Clare Fischer and Salsa Picante
1984 Wild! T‚nia Maria
1985 Free Fall Clare Fischer& The Latin Jazz Sextet
1985 Touch of the Rare Lisa Rich with the Clare Fischer Quartet
1986 Lives in the Balance Jackson Browne
1987 La Cocina Caliente Luis Conte
1987 Tjaderarama Clare Fischer& The Latin Jazz Sextet
1988 Very Greasy David Lindley
1989 Latin Obsession Larry Elgart
1989 World in Motion Jackson Browne
1990 Radartown Mark Germino& the Sluggers
1990 Sense of Place John Mayall
1990 Sideman Serenade David Bromberg
1990 Spirits Dancing in the Flesh Santana
1991 Change Starr Parodi
1991 Latino Latino: Music from the Streets of L.A. Various Artists
1991 Love Is the Reason Marcos Loya
1991 Pop Pop Rickie Lee Jones
1991 Showstoppers Barry Manilow
1992 Danzon-Cha Orquesta Sensacion
1992 Del Sol Dave Samuels
1992 Grande Finale (Greatest Hits) Secret Society
1992 Milagro Santana
1992 Through the Winds Juan Carlos Quintero
1992 Toolbox Toolbox
1993 Sacred Fire: Santana Live in South America Santana
1993 Wheels of the Sun Kazu Matsui
1994 1938-1940 Miguelito Valdes
1994 Blue Heart Jeff Richman
1994 Now Go Ahead& Open Your Eyes Flora Purim
1994 Passages Frank Gambale
1994 Santana Brothers Carlos Santana
1994 Speed of Light Flora Purim
1995 Dance of the Rainbow Serpent Carlos Santana
1995 Foreign Matter Peter Horvath
1995 In a Far Away Land Farzin
1995 Sol to Soul Freddie Ravel
1995 Thinking out Loud Frank Gambale
1996 Latin Jazz Dance Classics Various Artists
1996 Talk to Me Nestor Torres
1997 Cuba: I Am Time Various Artists
1997 Electric World Neal Schon
1997 Junction Seven Steve Winwood
1997 Latin Jazz Dance Classics, Vol. 2 Various Artists
1997 Passport Doug Cameron
1997 Rockin' in Rhythm Clare Fischer
1997 Vibes Alive Dirk Richter
1997 Wouldn't It Be Nice: A Jazz Portrait of Brian Wilson Various Artists
1998 Hazardous Material Bob Boykin& Firepower/Ernie Watts
1998 Wild Muse Strunz& Farah
1998 World According to M.T. Michael Thompson
1999 Song Lives On Joe Sample& Lalah Hathaway
2000 Best of Santana, Vol. 2 Santana
2000 Brazil Rosemary Clooney& John Pizzarelli
2000 Grouchyfriendly Phil Roy
2000 Legend of Cuban Percussion Patato
2000 Siete Willie& Lobo
2001 CafÈ AprËs-midi ClÈmentine
2001 Caribbean Nights: Tropical Latin Jazz Various Artists
2001 Identity Crisis Affirmation
2001 Making Spirits Bright: A Smooth Jazz Christmas Various Artists
2001 Pretender/Running on Empty/Lives in The Balance [Box] Jackson Browne
2002 Classic Masters Robbie Robertson
2002 Happiness T‚nia Maria
2002 Milagro/Sacred Fire Santana
2003 About Time Steve Winwood
2003 Best of the Concord Years Rosemary Clooney
2003 CafÈ Society Lorraine Feather
2003 Gold Coast Rhian Benson
2003 Last Farewell Shapes
2003 Outrageously Wild T‚nia Maria
2004 Austin City Limits Music Festival: 2003 Various Artists
2004 Best Blues Money Can Buy Willie Lomax Blues Revue
2004 John McLaughlin Montreux Concerts John McLaughlin
2004 Very Best of Jackson Browne Jackson Browne
2004 Wouldn't It Be Nice: A Jazz Portrait Of Brian Wilson Various Artists
2005 Big Picture Shapes
2005 Concord Picante 25th Anniversary Collection Various Artists
2005 Desert Guitars Strunz& Farah
2005 Duchess of Coolsville: An Anthology Rickie Lee Jones
2006 Loved Chris Joyner
2007 Moodo Records Presents Guitarra de Pasion, Vol. 3 Various Artists


  • Walredo Sr.'s father, also Walfredo, was a noted trumpeter in Havana.
  • Wayne Newton served as Walfredoís best man when he married his second wife.
  • Walfredoís son, Kamar, appeared on soap opera One Life to Live.
  • He is also known as Walfredo de los Reyes Sr.

Instruments of Choice



Drums: Drum Workshop
Cymbals: Sabian
Hardware: Drum Worskhop
Heads: Remo
Percussion: Toca
Sticks: Regal Tip

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