Ali Schweitzer calls Wilder, Kentucky his hometown. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from nearby Northern Kentucky University, but his ensuing studies took him far from home. In 1994 he went to Matanzas, Cuba to study with Los Muñequitos de Matanzas, returning in 1995 to further his studies with Afro Cuba de Matanzas. A sojourn to Bahia, Brazil in 1999 found him under the tutelage of Maestrae Kinge.
This immersion in various folkloric styles brought with it a sound that many ensembles closer to his home were eager to exploit. Ali counts among his past and present musical affiliations Drums For Peace, The Mike Wade Sextet, The Reality Band, ¡Zumba!, Salsa Caliente and the Mark Schulte Quartet in addition to Tropicoso. He has shared the stage with Latin luminaries Poncho Sanches, Puerto Rican Power, El Gran Combo and even opened for Joe Cocker on one occasion. In addition to recording with Tropicoso, Ali can also be heard on projects by G. Miles & the Hit Men, Eclipse and Chris Dunnett.
Not one to keep his vast knowledge and experiences bottled up, Ali is a substitute music teacher with the Cincinnati Public Schools. Each summer, Ali teaches with a local organization that gives youth exposure to careers in the arts called, appropriately, Art Works.
Tropicoso is proud to count Ali among the founding members. The creativity, knowledge and direction he brings to the band has proven an indispensable element to Tropicoso’s overall sound. When Ali states “cultural immersion brings understanding,” he speaks from experience.