Robby Ameen was born December 7, 1960 - New Haven, Connecticut.
In the time that Robby Ameen has spent living in New York City since the early eighties he has compiled a recording career stretching from Dizzy Gillespie to Paul Simon, while maintaining a more than fifteen year relationship with Latin luminaries Ruben Blades and Dave Valentin. Although he is of Lebanese origin, Robby is best known for the unique and powerful Afro-Cuban style he has created.
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?"
On the Latin scene Robby has also recorded several records with Eddie Palmieri, as well as records with Mongo Santamaria, Hilton Ruiz, Daniel Ponce, among others. He has toured with Willie Colon, Paquito D'Rivera, Gato Barbieri, DLG, and 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 a VH1 "Storytellers" special.
As a co-leader Robby recorded two records with Seis del Solar, Decision and Alternate Roots. Robby is also 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 25,000 copies worldwide. More recently, a video based on the book has been released on DCI/Warner Bros. Robby is also an active clinician, performing at NAMM and PAS shows, 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. Feature articles about Robby have appeared in Modern Drummer, Latin Beat, Batteur, and Percussionisti. Recently, Robby will be included in the New Grove Dictionary of Jazz.