Hailing from Humacao, Puerto Rico, Mario Castro began his musical studies at the age of 12, and later became interested primarily in jazz.
He has performed in the Puerto Rico Heineken Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Martha's Vineyard Jazz Festival, and Nancy Jazz Festival both as a sideman and leader, and with the Puerto Rico Philharmonic Orchestra, Dave Liebman, Greg Osby, Giovanni Hidalgo, Humberto Ramirez, Mike Clark, Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Gene Perla, and many more.
The Mario Castro Quintet met in 2008 at Berklee College of Music, where Castro finished his studies in 2011. The group's debut CD, Primavera, was released in April 2012 by Greg Osby's label Inner Circle Music. The quintet consists of David Neves, Jonathan Pinson, Tamir Shmerling, and KyuMin Shim.
Born in 1989, trumpeter David Neves is the winner of the 2010 International Trumpet Guild Jazz Competition. He completed his studies in 2011 at Berklee College of Music and the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, where he's had the pleasure of studying with some of his favorite musicians, including Danilo Perez, Joe Lovano, Ben Street, John Patitucci, Tiger Okoshi, and Hal Crook, to name a few.
Jonathan Pinson's dynamic and explosive percussion sound has been described as that of a "young Elvin Jones." His formal music training began at the age of six with instruction on the piano. He transitioned to the drum set in 1999 with instruction by Jerry Kalaf, at Los Angeles' Colburn School of Performing Arts, up until 2007. He's been fortunate to have the opportunity to study with the late, great Billy Higgins, at the World Stage in Los Angeles, California. Pinson came to Berklee on the full-tuition Jimmy Lyons Scholarship. He graduated in 2011, and was recently accepted into Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz Performance.
A double and electric bassist from Israel, Tamir Shmerling completed his mandatory national service as a bassist for the Israeli Defense Forces Orchestra from 2005 to 2008, performing with the orchestra around Israel, Europe, and the U.S. He held the bass chair in both the Tel Aviv and Holon big bands, directed by Amikam Kimelman and Guri Agmon respectively, and in the Israeli Idol TV show band. Shmerling studied at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music on a scholarship, and was a student of Eli Magen from 2008 to 2009. Since graduating from Berklee in 2011, he has toured with Terri Lyne Carrington.
KyuMin Shim was born in Seoul, Korea in 1984 and began to play the piano at age 5. He began with a focus on classical music, but soon after he started playing the jazz piano and won the performance prize in Jazz Music Competition held by Seoul Institute of the Arts (SITA), one of the best music schools in Korea. A year later, SITA presented him with a full scholarship. Since 2009, he's been studying at Berklee on scholarship, where he works with Joanne Brackeen, Danilo Pérez, and Ed Tomassi, to name a few.