Born in Buffalo, NY, Carmen developed an early interest in music and began playing drums at age five. By age 16, he was performing with local jazz groups most notably with Al Tinney. Also during this time he was the house drummer at The Calumet Arts Café backing such noted performers as David “Fathead” Newman, DD Jackson, George Garzone, and others during their engagements in the city.
In 1999, Carmen moved to New York City and began his studies at New School University. Spending only two years at New School, Carmen became one of their most respected drummers. Carmen recently graduated with a BM in jazz performance from The Juilliard School. Enrolled in the Institute for Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School he was one of eighteen students selected to be part of the inaugural year. Throughout his career at Juilliard he has studied and/or worked with Lewis Nash, Carl Allen, Percy Heath, Ray Brown, Lew Tabackin, Milton Cardona, Benny Golson, Donald Brown, and Wynton Marsalis.
In addition to performing in the groups of Dominick Farinacci and Ernie Krivda, Carmen leads several of his own exciting groups, from duo to septet. Recently Carmen has performed with The Joey DeFrancesco Trio subbing for Byron Landham. “An exciting and visceral player, Carmen provides the solid rhythmic underpinning that propels the soloists but also creates highly musical textures and patterns that demonstrate an individual voice”.
Carmen is one of my favorite drummers, he has a very wide groove and strong beat and most important of all, he swings his ass off! I LOVE EM! —Joey DeFrancesco