Tony began playing and studying the piano at the Dalcroze School of Music at age 4. By 10, Tony was teaching himself drums from the Gene Krupa Method book and a Gladstone practice pad. At the age of 11, Tony’s mom took him to the neighborhood club to hear Elvin Jones (the trio with Jimmy Garrison and Joe Farrell) by whom he was given his first set of drums and cymbals a week later. Tony studied with Elvin at Frank Ippolito’s Professional Percussion Center over the next 7 years. Tony would attend seven nights and two matinee concerts a week at The Village Vanguard when Elvin was in residence. “Elvin and Keiko would drop me off at home after the 3rd set. The hang at the bar; 2:30 am. Elvin sometimes would escort me to the front door of the apartment building and come in just to sit down at my mother’s harp and strum the strings. While Keiko was in the car waiting.” Tony remembers, “I went a few times a week to Frank’s, either for my lesson with Elvin, or just to hang. I made many close friends there: Papa Jo, Tony Williams, Buddy Rich, Mel Lewis, Gene Krupa, Billy Cobham. All the great drummers were there. It was heaven.”
Tony also attended Jazz Interactions in NYC, where he studied with Al Heath, Art Blakey, and Freddie Waits. While studying with Elvin, Tony was also studying concurrently with Stan Koor and James Preiss on classical percussion. Tony also met Bob Moses, who as a drummer and composer encouraged the idea of writing and performing original music. After attending the Manhattan School of Music, Tony freelanced in NY and began working in Europe, where he resided for six years. He often returned to NYC to perform and tour with numerous bands (The Gene Ess - Ravi Coltrane Quartet w/Matt Garrison: Europe; the Lounge Lizards World Tour - the Lounge Lizards “Live in Tokyo - Big Heart”; “Barry Harris Trio Live in Spain”; Timucin Sahin - Greg Osby Quartet “Live in Istanbul”; Mal Waldron Trio RTVE France/Brussels; FFEAR (Forum for Acoustic and Electronic Research) at Miller Theatre. Living in Europe, Tony began touring and recording extensively: Oslo, Stockholm, London, Paris, Aix-en-Provence, Berlin, Köln, Milan, Parma, Madrid, Barcelona, Tangiers, and all points in between. In 1989, Tony returned to NYC with his wife. Tony began gigging and teaching and recording soon after arriving back in town. Tony appears on over 150 recordings and numerous DVDs. His latest double CD recording, the Tony Moreno Quintet Short Stories, won the best recording of the year by The New York Jazz Record 2016; four 1/2 stars Downbeat). Performances of the Quintet can be found on YouTube, Tony’s website, and Small’s Video Archive. Small’s also includes two live sets with FFEAR. Additional biographic information, condensed discography, tours, press, photos, and a free download of a short textbook can be found on Tony’s website.
Tony teaches at NYU Steinhardt’s Jazz Studies program (Dr. Dave Pietro) and Columbia University’s Louis Armstrong Jazz Studies Program (Dr. Chris Washbourne) as well as at City College of New York (Steve Wilson) and privately. Tony Moreno endorses Paiste Cymbals (Kelly Paiste) and Le Soprano Drums (Marco Gambarisio).