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Professional jazz drummer joins ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre

Headshot of Robert Carrillo

Jazz drummer Robert "Robby" Carrillo.

August 21, 2023

Jazz drummer Robert “Robby” Carrillo is joining Arizona State University's School of Music, Dance and Theatre as an assistant teaching professor of jazz. 

“I have spent over 23 years learning all the ins and outs of being a working musician in as many different musical settings as possible,” Carrillo said. “I hope and believe my experiences and the lessons I learned will help me guide students through their own musical journeys and help them grow at a much quicker pace in a music industry that can sometimes be very difficult to navigate.”

Carrillo started playing professionally while still in high school, when he joined the Yuma Jazz Quintet at the age of 16. He is a well-known and in-demand drummer within the Phoenix jazz community, performing at many local venues.

A double alumnus, Carrillo earned his Bachelor of Music in 2016 and Master of Music in 2022 in jazz performance at ASU, where he received the Jazzbird Foundation Scholarship and studied jazz performance and composition under renowned drummer Dom Moio and Michael Kocour, director of ASU’s jazz studies program.

“The jazz faculty at ASU have created an environment that welcomes everyone and provides a place to explore one's creativity while learning valuable skills to become a working professional in the music industry,” Carrillo said. 

While attending ASU, he had the opportunity to perform with jazz greats such as Joe Lovano and was the opening act for Benny Golson at the famed Jazz Showcase in Chicago.

Since graduating from ASU, Carrillo said, he has tried to share as much about the history of jazz and being a professional jazz drummer with as many students as possible.

“My goal is to make certain that this wonderful art form can continue to grow and spread throughout the future generations all over the world.” 

Carillo will be directing ASU’s Latin Jazz Ensemble and teaching applied jazz drum set — a collection of drums, cymbals and sometimes other auxiliary percussion instruments. He will also continue his affiliation with the music program at Mesa Community College.

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