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#142 Robby Ameen- Drummer for Ruben Blades Y Seis Del Solar, Dave Valentin, Jack Bruce & More!

#142 Robby Ameen- Drummer for Ruben Blades Y Seis Del Solar, Dave Valentin, Jack Bruce & More!

Photo of Robby by Patrick Bonnard.

On this week’s podcast episode is the great Robby Ameen. 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 Fred Hinger at the Yale School of Music.

Upon moving to New York, Robby began recording with Dave Valentin and 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 Jazz Times "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?"

Robby is an active clinician, performing at Modern Drummer Day, Montreal Drum Festival, NAMM and PAS shows, to name a few, as well as internationally. Some of his various TV appearances include The Tonight Show, 60 Minutes, Amnesty International Concerts, Cinemax's "A Latino Special: feat. Jerry Garcia," "The Return of Ruben Blades" documentary, Good Morning America, Europe's Rockpalast and Jazz Inn.

In addition to his recording and touring schedule, Robby is busy in the New York studios doing jingles, TV music, and film scores with such composers as Dave Grusin, Carlos Franzetti, and Howard Shore. He was the drummer for the first few seasons of trhe show "Sex and the City." Feature articles about Robby have appeared in such magazines as Modern Drummer, Rhythm, Latin Beat, Batteur, Percussionisti, and others. Recently, Robby will be included in the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.

Robby grew up in New Haven, CT which is known for the birthplace of the hamburger. It also holds its own with Pizza between Sally’s, Pepe’s and other fine establishments. It also has a ton of great places for higher learning and lots of music venues.

Gig alerts for this week……

Maracatu NY will be participating in the NYC Halloween Parade again. If you would like to participate, CLICK HERE and fill out the form, and then attend the rehearsals.

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You can learn more about Maracatu and (friend of the show) Scott Kettner by listening to his episode HERE. Also, the rehearsals are at THE NEW SCHOOL (not NYU).

The Icarus Percussion Quartet has released a whole host of new dates on their website.

Product review for this week…..

LP is offering FREE SHIPPING on their timbales for the rest of September. If you want to watch the playlist of timbales being performed by (friend of the show) Camilo Molina-Gaetan, you can see all the videos in succession HERE. Shoutout to Paulo Stagnaro of Conga Chops for the music Camilo is playing along to. For a look at the other timbales, CLICK HERE.

Congratulations to (friend of the show) Marcos Lopez for his new gig with Marc Anthony!!!


The iconic recording for this week…..

Cuentas del Alma by Rubén Blades from the Escenas album.

Music News for this week…..

California Senate Passes Gig Economy Bill That Could 'Gut the Music Industry'. New podcast alert! Vinnie Colaiuta has released a podcast series called “Breakfast with Vinnie”. We think you should check it out (and then come back and listen to us!). Musicians Demand Ticketmaster Ban Facial Recognition at Concerts.

Our Social Soundbyte for this week……

Mauricio Herrera has been posting his practice sessions on Instagram and you can check it out for some more inspiration.

The music leading into the interview is “Crowded House” by Robby Ameen from his “Days in the Night” album.

Robby went to Yale University in New Haven and got a degree in Literature, but wanted to fall back on something solid, so he became a Latin-Jazz drummer.

Robby started by playing on the street in NYC. If you want to play on the street or in the subway, you should make sure you don’t get in trouble, and get a permit.

Shout-out to drummer Adam Nussbaum.

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Bill Fitch was a conguero from New Haven who was revered by many and even Giovanni Hidalgo memorized his solos. Even the late great Don Alias learned from him.

Shout-out to the Curtis brothers (Zaccai and Luques) for naming their band Insight after Bill.

Robby’s relationship with Lincoln Goines began when he saw Lincoln play with the late Dave Valentin at the (no longer in existence) 7th Ave South Jazz Club.

Robby is the co-author with Lincoln Goines of the best-selling instructional book and CD: Funkifying the Clave: Afro Cuban Grooves for Bass and Drums, which has sold over 35,000 copies worldwide. A video based on the book was also released on DCI/Warner Bros.

Robby ended up playing in Dave’s band and the first album he played on was “Kalahari”.

Robby started working with Kip Hanrahan after Kip opened up for Ruben Blades at Carnegie Hall. Kip used lots of musicians and Robby brought Negro in which later spawned the Deep Rumba project.

After that, Negro and Robby had their own band and also played with Jack Bruce (of Cream).

Robby talks about playing with Ruben Blades and there being three percussionists and drumset. Learning how to not step on each other’s “toes” was a skill that was developed.

Hearing the group Batacumbele from Puerto Rico and songo was the first time Robby heard drumset in a danceable/salsa type setting. Also Guaco from Venezuela was another drum influence in latin music.

Robby talks about how there is more access to information these days and was recently checking out Rufus “Speedy” Jones and Sonny Payne of the Duke Ellington and Count Basie Bands. Robby also mentions the funkiness of James Gadson who was playing with his friend John Beasley.

Damon mentions the El Negro and Robby Ameen band “El Negro and Robby at the Third World War”. He also talks about going to see the album release party at the Knitting Factory in NYC.

You can catch Robby at Dizzy’s Club in NYC on Oct 13th with Oscar Hernandez. Robby just recorded on an album for Michelle Rosewoman as well as Bill O’Connell. Stay tuned for his album coming up in the next year!

Shout-out to Samuel Formell, Giraldo “Piloto” Barreto, Rodney Barreto, Oliver Valdes and some other amazing timba drummers.

The song leading out of the interview is “The Pursuit” by Robby Ameen from his “Days in the Night” album.

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#143 Kenny Grohowski- Drummer for Brand X, Hipster Assassins, John Zorn & More!

#143 Kenny Grohowski- Drummer for Brand X, Hipster Assassins, John Zorn & More!

#141 Rolando Morales- Matos-Percussionist for Broadway, Orchestras, Educator, Author and More!

#141 Rolando Morales- Matos-Percussionist for Broadway, Orchestras, Educator, Author and More!