H. Ray Robinson, Jr. “Ray”, fell in love with playing drums at the age of 4, starting with an empty Quaker oatmeal box and two pencils. He began formal lessons at the age of 11 under the instruction of Joe Varhula, and Mr. Robinson’s teaching experience started when he was 16 years old by showing young drummers how to play rudiments and the basics of playing the drum-set.
At 17 Mr. Robinson was awarded 3rd in-state on drum set in the Illinois Music Education Association program. After completing high school, Mr. Robinson entered the military and was trained as a medic and paratrooper and was selected to join the US Army Band program where he was assigned to the 3rd Armored Division Band, Frankfurt, Germany & the 82nd Airborne Division Band, Ft. Bragg, NC as a drummer/percussionist. While in the Armed Forces he performed for numerous dignitaries and many high-ranking officials under the Ronald Reagan administration, and traveled the world performing.
After completing his military service, Mr. Robinson created the drum program for the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame’s Saturday Morning Jazz Program under the direction of the illustrious Dr. Frank Adams. Ray was also affiliated with University of Alabama’s ARTPLAY Program as a percussion consultant/instructor and private instructor for various events, as well as teaching private students.
Mr. Robinson is founder of Heartbeat Percussion Ensemble, RAW Jazz Trio, Art Music Poetry “AMP”, and H. Ray Entertainment. Ray has performed with Babbie Mason and played for Kirk Franklin‘s project Silver and Gold Workshop in Augusta, GA. He has also opened for Miki Howard, Shirley Murdock, Zapp ft Roger Troutman and Down to the Bone.
Since moving to Florida, Ray has been teaching, performing and recording in the South Florida area regularly, playing as a member of legendary bands such as Graham Wood Drout's Iko-Iko (from Tobacco Road), Jazz Hall of Fame inductee Joey Gilmore and the TCB Express, Jazz Hall of Fame inductee Mo Morgan, recording artist Patti Russo and the National Treasure Band which performed with the artist Meatloaf, and background for Cher, Muggy Doo of Buddy Miles Express, and recording artist Rachelle Coba.
Currently he is performing with numerous local artists such as fusion jazz group Night Moves Project, blues artists Midnite Johnny, Nigel Mack, Americana folk artist Michael Wieskopf, jazz artist Amy Arlo, jazz duo Ted McDrmontt and Loye Hawkins, acoustic string group Wagner, Hand and Phlug (WHP), Derelict Daughters and lastly includes educator/clinician/pianist Mari Bell’s Jazz Quartet.
Mr. Robinson is currently and passionately active with the South Florida Center for Percussive Arts developing and participating in specialized programs for students including those with disabilities (autism, down syndrome, substance abusers) , to include organizing performances and bringing musical arts presentations to many local public and charter schools and public community events.