A lifelong passion

Drummer/Percussionist Frank Ayala was born in a small rural town in southern California. After losing his parents at an early age, he and his three siblings were adopted by grandparents and brought to Denver, Colorado. Frank’s first experience with drumming literally began by banging on old coffee and paint cans in a shed in his grandparents’ backyard.

As a teenager, Frank experienced the angst common to many of his generation. He hit the road in search new adventures. The confluence of enjoying personal independence for the first time, and the exhilarating effect of the musical influences of the 60s, spurred a life-long passion for music in Frank. Music fed his soul, and his desire to create music has stayed with him to this day.

Frank was highly influenced by Rock ‘n Roll and R&B, which ultimately led him to a strong interest in Jazz. His love of percussion led him to the music of South America, where he became fascinated by the music and instruments of Brazil. His earliest and most profound influences include: Brazilian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Milton Nascimento, Jazz Drummer/Percussionist Airto Moreira and Percussion Experimentalist Nana Vasconselos.

In the 80s, Frank formed Bridges, a group that played Latin and Brazilian jazz, a novel concept in Denver at that time. He found success performing in local clubs and opening for national acts such as the LA-based Latin rock group Tierra, Brazilian jazz artists Airto and Flora Purim, internationally-acclaimed jazz flautist Herbie Mann and the Grammy-winning Jeff Lorber Fusion.

Frank developed his current group, Mistura Fina, in 2005. The band has performed at a number of festivals, including: Cherry Creek Arts Festival, Longmont Jazz Festival, Westcliffe Jazz, Breckenridge Jazz Festival, City Park Jazz, Five Points Jazz Festival, Denver Jazz Festival, and First Friday Five Points Jazz Hop. Frank has recently performed at major local jazz venues: Dazzle, Spangalang Brewery, The Bar at Plaza 38 and Caffe Sole in Boulder.

Mistura Fina has performed live in-studio on KUVO 89.3FM, the premier jazz station in Denver. The band’s second release, “A Little Bit Of This And A Little Bit Of That”, has received extensive airplay on jazz stations across the United States, Latin America, Paris, France and Australia. Frank is especially proud of his induction into the Chicano Music Hall Of Fame in 2020 by Su Teatro Cultural & Performing Arts Center for his contribution to keeping Spanish language music flourishing in Colorado.

Frank has graduated from banging on paint and coffee cans to a state-of-the-art DW Collector Series drum kit. He continues to be an ardent student/collector of Brazilian percussion, which he incorporates into his live performances. These instruments add to Frank’s dynamic visual stage presence and enhance the musical experience for his audience. Like the late great Nana Vasconcelos, Frank is an adventurous performer who continues to explore new territory and opportunities for collaboration.

Frank Ayala makes his home in Thornton, Colorado, with Yvonne, his life partner of forty years, Lulu the Corgi, and three cats. He is the proud father of a daughter and two sons.