Jemal Ramirez also looked beyond the horizon for his massive African Skies (Joyful Beat V516; 39:21/46:23 4 stars). Here, he concentrates purely on igniting the other players through the spark of the groove. He does lead the way from one base to another, settling most frequently on hard-bop, various Latin formats and funk. He’s formidable in each area.

Bob Doerschuk, Downbeat-June 2018 issue, pg.66


More than a resourceful drummer, Jemal Ramirez is a bandleader and composer who knows that the best way to showcase master improvisers is by supplying them with sinewy grooves, lush harmonies and inviting melodies, which can all be found in abundance within “African Skies”.

Andrew Gilbert, Bay Area Jazz Music Advocate


His latest CD, “African Skies” (Joyful Beat Records), finds him anchoring his usual quintet, notable for the inclusion of the perpetually relevant vibraphonist Warren Wolf. But it’s also important to emphasize, on the evidence of this disc and its predecessor, “Pomponio” (2015), that the Ramirez band is a real team. Star power is not what keeps both discs worth hearing. It’s the collective energy and program choices that bring out the cohesiveness of the ensemble as well as the solo chops within.

Jay Harvey, jayharveyupstage.blogspot.com


What I love about Ramirez’s drums is how thick and wide-bodied they are without stealing the show. They are ever-present throughout the album but Ramirez never makes the mistake of drowning out everyone else or soloing excessively. Instead, he provides his cohesive hard-bop unit with a meaty, Latin-tinged frame that works wonderfully. This is a perfect album and a must own. Honestly, I could listen to Ramirez play drums all day long.

Marc Myers,  jazzwax.com


Assembling a world class band to do his bidding, Jemal Ramirez proves that he is not only a mighty drummer with a punchy, popping style, but his compositions instantly charm, contrasting his Afro Cuban, jazz and funk-laced tunes with excellent cover material. Spin African Skies, troubles fall away, bliss ensues. Five stars.

Ken Micallef, Downbeat, Modern Drummer, Stereophile


One of Jemal’s goals is to “promote instrumental music within the lives of people of all ages”, and he & his crew certainly make that a shimmering reality on tunes like the high-energy “Episode From A Village Dance”… a definitely Latin feel, but every bar is packed with original and inventive nuances from each of the players in the sextet… superb work here (I most STRONGLY recommend that you listen to this one with the headphones on; heck, you should really listen to ALL the songs that way, especially if you need to renew the “joy levels” in your life).

Dick Metcalf, Contemporary Fusion Reviews


This has been a very enjoyable experience and I have had to remind myself several times of what I was listening too… which means it’s taking me places. GREAT ART is connected to all things.. all places.. leaving my connection to the now TENOUS and frivolous… I can be staring at pyramids talking with ancients… then side A will end.. back to this regrettable present…Each track is a journey into the past present and future. The sound quality is top notch.

Daniel VanEijl, Prolific Contributor to Jazz Vinyl Lovers


Overall, the album has a great sound. A great combination of an acoustic, airy organic jazz sound but still sounding like a modern record. 

Brian Andres, San Francisco Bay Area Drummer and Band Leader




Jazz drummer Jemal Ramirez back on the beat, and you should be glad 

Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News


School Teacher/Drummer Jemal Ramirez Knocks it Out of the Park on ‘Pomponio’ Debut [REVIEW]

Mike Greenblatt, Classicalite


Everyone gets a chance in the sun, and it’s bright on this session! Whew!

George W. Harris,  jazzweekly.com


On Pomponio, his first solo album, Jemal leads a septet that, with its trumpet-sax frontline, is sometimes a bit reminiscent of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. However its repertoire is fresh and the band, with its inclusion of Warren Wolf on vibes and marimba and the Latin percussion of John Santos, has its own exciting musical personality.

Scott Yanow, Freelance Jazz Writer and Historian


A killer date throughout, this is where the heat meets the feet.

Chris Spector, Editor and Publisher Midwest Record


Certainly the American drummer Jemal Ramirez is not among the best known names in international jazz. However, this record is one that you listen with pleasure…

Vittorio La Conte, music zoom.com (Review from Italy)


Ramirez is definitely the guiding light and flash of spirit that leads this band and applies just the right amount of sass and virtuosity to inspire excellence.

Dee Dee McNeil, musicalmemoirs.wordpress.com


The first album as a leader for the drummer from Northern California, Jemal Ramirez (r.1974) – this is the start of a new phase of his already quite long way in music.

Leonid Auskern, jazzquad.ru (Review from Russia)


Very solid musicianship and a drummer that sets it all ablaze, this is an album to cherish. 

Grady Harp, amazon.com


Debut recording from SF Bay area drummer/educator Jemal Ramirez recruits a septet of polished musicians to cover an unsung dozen of jazz classics.

Ann Porotti, Radio DJ at WTJ


San Francisco hard-bop and Latin-jazz drummer fronts a sextet that has a Bobby Hutcherson feel, thanks to Warren Wolf on vibes.

Marc Myers,  jazzwax.com


Jemal Ramirez, drummer, sometimes supplemented on Latin percussion by John Santos, is a busy player. And Ramirez’s sound is high in the mix. But his busyness always comes across as productive — a driver of the high energy characteristic of his band. 

Jay Harvey, jayharveyupstage.blogspot.com


Honest, well done, well interpreted this album can be listen to and ensures a true moment of musical enjoyment.

Catherine Codridex, Highlands Magazine (Review from France)