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Robby Ameen

Grammy Award-winning drummer Robby Ameen has been living in New York City since the early eighties and has compiled a recording career stretching from Dizzy Gillespie to Paul Simon, while maintaining a more than twenty year relationship with Latin icon Ruben Blades as a member of Seis del Solar. Although he is of Lebanese origin, Robby is best known for the unique and powerful Afro-Cuban jazz style he has developed. Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, Robby was able to take advantage of his proximity to New York City by going to clubs and hearing many of the great jazz masters at a very young age. At the same time, he was involved in the local jazz and latin scene, as well as later attending Yale University, where he received a BA in literature. His jazz roots were strongly influenced by his studies with the great Ed Blackwell in high school, while in college he studied classical percussion with the renowned Fred Hinger.

Upon moving to New York, Robby began recording with flutist Dave Valentin and soon afterwards Ruben Blades, who was the first salsa singer to add a full- time drummer to his band, Seis del Solar. Another one of his early recordings was "New Faces" with Dizzy Gillespie, about whom Dizzy said in JazzTimes "Just the other day I made a record with a Lebanese drummer..." b-a- a-d! He had so much happening, and it keeps going, you know?"

On the Latin scene Robby has recorded many records with Eddie Palmieri, as well as having toured or recorded with such luminaries as Mongo Santamaria, Paquito D'Rivera, Hilton Ruiz, and Willie Colon among many others. Robby was the drummer at Marc Anthony's historic first solo concert at Madison Square Garden.

Another one of Robby's longstanding relationships has been with producer- composer Kip Hanrahan, with whom he has been recording and touring since 1987. He was also the drummer for Paul Simon's "Capeman", with whom he worked through the long rehearsal period up until the recordings and the actual show, as well as VH1's "Storytellers" and part of the BAM's Paul Simon retrospective.. Robby also has toured and recorded extensively with Jack Bruce's "Cuicoland Express" band and is a longtime member of Conrad Herwig's oft Grammy-nominated " Latin Side of ..." band.

As a co-leader, Robby has recorded three records with the "El Negro and Robby Band" along side Horacio "el Negro" Hernandez. He also helped found the latin-jazz power trio "Overproof." Most recently Robby has released his "Days in the Night" solo project, composing and arranging most of the music, as a follow-up to the earlier "Days in the Life" record.

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Album Review

Santi Debriano & Arkestra Bembe: Ashanti

Read "Ashanti" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Panama-born bassist Santi Debriano's Arkestra Bembe is a nonet whose centerpiece is the bembe music of west Africa. During the Coronavirus pandemic, Debriano began hosting weekly bembes (musical celebrations) in the basement of his Staten Island, New York home, gradually assembling a group of musicians who would comprise the Arkestra and perform Debriano's compositions and arrangements. The result is Ashanti, an impressive studio recording whose framework is jazz but whose heart and soul are clearly in bembe. ...

16
Album Review

Conrad Herwig: The Latin Side of Horace Silver

Read "The Latin Side of Horace Silver" reviewed by Jack Bowers


New York-based trombonist Conrad Herwig began exploring the “Latin side" of various jazz musicians in 1996, with The Latin Side of John Coltrane, which earned him the first of four Latin Grammy Award nominations. Since then, Herwig has done the same for Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson and, now, pianist Horace Silver. The formula is trim and solid; choose several of an artist's more notable compositions and recast them in a rhythmic Latin framework. For The Latin ...

10
Album Review

Robby Ameen: Diluvio

Read "Diluvio" reviewed by Jack Bowers


It's a given that wherever Grammy-winning drummer Robby Ameen goes, irrepressible rhythm is sure to follow. Diluvio, Ameen's third album as leader of his own ensemble, is clearly no exception to the rule. Ameen's half-dozen compositions are intrepid and lively, and even Gerry Mulligan's “Line for Lyons" and John Coltrane's “Impressions," which seal the album, are given bright rhythmic makeovers in keeping with the leader's metrical frame of mind. To lend color and variety, Ameen employs a ...

15
Album Review

Robby Ameen: Diluvio

Read "Diluvio" reviewed by Dan Bilawsky


Perhaps it's a flood of rhythm that the title and cover art refer to on this third leader outing from drumming dynamo Robby Ameen. A heavy hitter in Afro-Cuban circles for decades, Ameen's frangible linear Latin funk workouts, intricate rhythmic roadmapping, song-serving chops and good taste have earned him an overwhelmingly positive reputation. Everybody from musical polymath Ruben Blades to flutist Dave Valentin and pianist Eddie Palmieri to trombonist Conrad Herwig has called on Ameen multiple times over the years, ...

290
Album Review

Robby Ameen: Days in the Life

Read "Days in the Life" reviewed by Raul d'Gama Rose


Robby Ameen is one of those first call percussionists who has been chafing at the bit to produce something all his own. Now he has his chance, with Days in the Life and he acquits himself with excellence. Things might have very well gone awry, as so often happens when self producing a first record. This, however, does not happen with Ameen, as he is careful to avoid the obvious at all costs. The percussionist is well known for his ...

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Primary Instrument

Drums

Willing to teach

Advanced only

Credentials/Background

$100 per hour

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Ashanti

Jojo Records
2023

buy

The Latin Side of...

Savant Records
2022

buy

Diluvio

Origin Records
2020

buy

The Latin Side of...

Savant Records
2020

buy

Days in the Life

Two and Four
2009

buy

Swiftboating

From: Days in the Life
By Robby Ameen

Una Muy Anita

From: Days in the Life
By Robby Ameen

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