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Lenny Castro

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Lenny Castro
Lenny Castro performing with Joe Bonamassa in 2015
Lenny Castro performing with Joe Bonamassa in 2015
Background information
Birth nameLenny Castro
Born (1956-09-19) September 19, 1956 (age 67)
New York City, New York, U.S.

Lenny Castro (born September 19, 1956) is an American percussionist from the Los Angeles area.[1] He is one of the most prolific percussionists of all time, appearing on hundreds of albums, including those by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Adele, Maroon 5, U2, and the Rolling Stones, among others.

Early life[edit]

Castro was born and raised in New York City to parents of Puerto Rican descent. His father, Hector Castro, was a keyboardist for Latin artists such as Johnny Pacheco. Castro attended the High School of Music & Art where he studied classical percussion.[2]


After graduating high school and playing in local bands around New York City, he was discovered by singer Melissa Manchester at age 19 and went on tour as her percussionist.[3] Castro later moved to Los Angeles with Manchester where he was introduced to producer Richard Perry. Perry had him play for Diana Ross on her album Baby It's Me where Castro met session drummer Jeff Porcaro.[4]

Castro was then invited to join the band Toto by Porcaro for their debut album tour, later joining them in the studio for subsequent releases.[5] Among his contributions to the band was for their hit single "Africa", where he played the ethnic percussion heard on the track.[6]

As a freelance musician, Castro has recorded with several other musicians, including Stevie Nicks, Joe Sample, and Eric Clapton, the latter of whom he played with for the Grammy-winning song "Tears in Heaven".[7][8][9]

Castro was nominated for Best Contemporary Jazz Album at the 46th Annual Grammys for the album Rural Renewal as part of The Crusaders.[10]


  1. ^ Flans, Robyn (January 1998). "Brothers in Rhythm: The LA Percussionist Roundtable" (PDF). Modern Drummer. Vol. 22, no. 1. p. 52.
  2. ^ Flans, Robyn (April 1989). "Lenny Castro" (PDF). Modern Drummer. Vol. 13, no. 4. pp. 24–27.
  3. ^ Maui Beat (September 5, 2013). "Lenny Castro heats up Maui Jazz & Blues Festival". Maui News. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  4. ^ Bentley, Mary (April 2006). "The Sidemen of Smooth Jazz: Lenny Castro". SmoothViews. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  5. ^ Robinson, John (January 11, 2017). "Lenny Castro – Percussionist with Adele, Rolling Stones, Elton John & More". Vinyl Night. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  6. ^ Flans, Robyn (2005). "Toto's "Africa"". Mix. Vol. 29, no. 8. p. 132.
  7. ^ Chonin, Neva (August 3, 1998). "Stevie Nicks Still Twirls In the Spotlight". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved April 28, 2022. Backed by an able seven-piece band that included the amazing percussionist Lenny Castro...
  8. ^ Robins, Wayne (April 13, 1991). "Brand name jazz beating the generic". Newsday. Retrieved April 28, 2022. A highlight of his set was some cat-and-mouse play with percussionist Lenny Castro, who seemed to be malleting everything from tinkling bells to timbales with the same melodic sense Sample brought to his Steinway.
  9. ^ Chilton, Martin (January 14, 2022). "Tears in Heaven: The Story Behind Eric Clapton's Most Emotional Song". Dig!. Warner Music Group. Retrieved April 28, 2022.
  10. ^ Grammy (n.d.). "Lenny Castro". The Recording Academy. Retrieved April 28, 2022.

External links[edit]