H. Ray Robinson, Jr. was born in East Orange, NJ on June 27th, 1964. He started playing drums at the age of 4 years old on top of th Quacker oatmeal box with two pencils. He, later in life, began formal lessons at the age of 11 under the instruction of Joe Varhula. Ray continued his lessons with Brian Callahan – for rudimental drumming, Jerry Turnmier – for jazz improvisation on mallets, and attended The (DCI) –Drum Corp International Cavaliers drum rehearsals where Mike Chiota was a drumline/percussion instructor.
Mr. Robinson was awarded 3rd third-in-state in the IMEA Illinois Music Education Association. After completing HS, Mr. Robinson joined the US Army Band program where he was assigned to the 3rd Armour Division Band, Frankfurt, Germany & the 82nd Airborne Division Band, Ft. Bragg, NC as a percussionist. While in the Armed Forces he performed for numerous dignitaries such as Bob Hope, Sec of State (?) under the Ronald Reagan administration, and many more…. He has opened up for Miki Howard, Shirley Murdock, Zapp ft Roger Troutman, as well as, gospel artists Babbie Mason in Birmingham, Al and attended Kirk Franklin’s workshop Silver and Gold in Augusta, Ga.
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. He’s currently teaching in a clinic setting at The Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame on Saturday morning Jazz program, under the direction of Dr. Frank Adams. Ray is also affiliated with UAB’s Artplay program where he is a percussion consultant/instructor and private instructor for various events. Mr. Robinson, also,has his own private students that perform as a percussion ensemble and to include recitals.
Lastly, Mr. Robinson, has an organization called Hearbeat Percussion Ensemble that also perform at different events, ie; VBS - vacation bible schools, health fairs, & cultural events such as Kwanzaa Celebrations annually at Birmingham’s Civil Rights Institute and more. He currently is teaching, performing, and recording in the South Florida area regularly as he is staying busy with legendary bands such as; Graham Wood Drout's Iko-Iko (from tobacco road), jazz inductee - Joey Gilmore and the TCB Express, jazz inductee - Mo Morgan, educator/clinician/pianist - Mari Bell’s quintet, Ted McDermott and Loye Hawkins, Luna Star’s house band - Wagner, Hand, and Phlug (on the cajon). Lastly, Mr Robinson, is working on a project performing on the vibes (malletkat).