Ramirez was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico on September 15, 1913. He grew up in New York and started playing the piano at a young age. Ramirez’s first professional performances were in the early 1930s. In 1933 he played with Monette Moore, then with Rex Stewart and Sid Catlett in New York. He joined Willie Bryant in 1935, and toured Europe with Bobby Martin in 1937. During the first half of the 1940s Ramirez played with Ella Fitzgerald, Frankie Newton, Charlie Barnet, John Kirby, and Catlett, in addition to leading his own band.
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