Rafael has established himself as a premier guitarist and composer since his arrival in NYC in 2011. He has performed at renowned venues such as the Blue Note Jazz Club, ShapeShifter Lab, DROM, Shrine World Music, The Bitter End, The Rainbow Room, The Metropolitan Room, 54 Below, Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club, The 55 Bar, The Edison Ballroom and Bowery Electric both as a solo artist with his original music as well as with a number of bands. He has received rave reviews on his playing as a sideman with Tony Award Winning Singer Luba Mason and her project Mixtura, The Prince Of Bollywood Jeffrey Iqbal & Unity Through Music, , Night Of The Living Funk, Steven Frieder Group, Ben Rosenblum’s Nebula Project, and The Gianni Organ Trio (GOT), The Original Haus Band amongst others.
His debut “Portrait” (2014) was co- produced by Multi-Grammy Award Winning Bassist/Composer John Benitez and was awarded 4 stars from international publications. “Portrait” features an incredible cast of master musicians bringing together Puerto Rico’s Bomba and Plena rhythms, jazz harmony, and rock’s aggressive nature to form a unique and original canvas of sound beyond the normal clave bringing this music to festivals all over the world.
Rafael is currently part of the Faculty at LIU’s ROCNATION. He has taught at other colleges like NYU, CUNY, Saint John’s University, and his private studio: The Brooklyn Rock Academy; mentoring students graduate to music colleges all over the world and develop their own voices as artists. He regularly performs in NYC and his hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico, so be sure to check the calendar.
In 2022 he released his second album as a leader “Axiomatic: Music For The People” . Later on that same year he was named a Fellow for the John Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for Music Composition, becoming only the second Puerto Rican ever in the Music Composition Category to receive this prestigious honor. His third release as a leader: “The Professor”, an exploration on world rhythms and new textures of groove, is set to be released in 2023.