Jazz: The American Classic Art Form
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Born and raised in Chicago, Robert started studying drums at the age of 10, starting a band with twin brother (Richard) who plays bass. They has a sound proof studio built by their father (Charles Shipley) who was a recording engineer.
Robert attended Chicago Vocational High School majoring in music. After high school he went to Kentucky State University on a marching band scholarship, and then to The American Conservatory of Music in Chicago.
In 1979 he started touring the world with Blues bands such as Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, who he recorded on Gatemouth's Grammy winning album (Best Blues Artist) in 1981. After moving to Los Angeles in 1982 he began touring with Natalie Cole 1983-1989, Diana Ross 1989, The Temptations, 1989-1990, The O'Jays 1990-2002, Chaka Khan 1995-1998, and isolated dates with artists such as Stephanie Mills, Gerald Levert, Yolanda Adams, The Main Ingredient, Ben Vereen, Evelyn King, The Emotions, The S.O.S. Band, Jody Whatley, and many more.
Robert decided to take his career in another direction after 20 years on the road performing in every venue from Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, The Superdome in New Orleans, to the Universal Amphitheatre in L.A., and appearing on several T.V. shows such as Soul Train, Oprah Winfrey, The Tonight Show, and many H.B.O. Specials. He moved to Vegas to pursue a more stable life in the Vegas showrooms and to share with kids his passion for drumming.
After having a rising career in Vegas with productions such as Vegas, The Show, Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing, Earl Turner, Legends in Concert, and Hitzville (The Show) a Motown revue featuring Jin Jin Reeves. He taught Free drum lessons to students at Winchester cultural center in Las Vegas, sponsored by The House of Blues Foundation, and The Boys and Girls Club (north facility) in Holland Michigan sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, DW Drums, Remo Drumheads, Vater Drumsticks, and Sabian Cymbals.
While in Las Vegas, Robert attended UNLV and attained his Bachelor's and Master's degree studying with Director of jazz studies, Dave Loeb and other esteemed jazz faculty.
Robert Shipley is currently the Director of Jazz Studies at Hope College. A tenure track position he proudly accepted July 1, 2021.