Robert Jospe playing the drums

Photo by Jen Fariello

“The magical power of music has been my source of inspiration for decades. Playing drums brings me happiness every day”. – Robert Jospé

Born in Manhattan, Robert Jospé was inspired by his Belgian parents love of music and began playing the drums at fourteen. He had his first professional performance in France at the age of sixteen. While attending the Cambridge School of Weston in Weston, Massachusetts, Jospé enrolled in the Berklee College of Music summer session and began formal training on drums. Upon graduating from the Cambridge School, Jospé moved to New York City to attend New York University. Over the next twelve years he became an active player in the New York jazz and rock scene as well as co-leader of the fusion band Cosmology. He studied with Tony Williams and Bob Moses and performed with Michael Brecker, Dave Liebman, John Schofield and John Abercrombie.

Jospé released his first CD Inner Rhythm and formed his own group Inner Rhythm in 1990. Inner Rhythm has performed in theaters, concert halls, clubs, and at festivals, private functions and community outreach programs from New York to Honolulu. Since 1992 he has received an annual touring grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts for his bands, master classes and his educational, interactive, lecture/demonstration The World Beat Workshop. The program, which is presented to thousands of students every year, highlights the history and varied styles of African influenced dance music throughout the Americas. 

Photo by John Edwin Mason

Jospé joined the University of Virginia’s music department’s faculty in 1989. Jospé teaches jazz drumming and a rhythmic fluency course “Learn to Groove”. He is a member of UVA’s faculty jazz ensemble, The Free Bridge Quintet. With the Free Bridge Quintet, Robert contributed to the online educational component of Jazz by UVA Professor Scott DeVeaux and jazz writer Gary Giddins.

Random Chance Records released Heart Beat in 2006, Jospé’s fifth CD as leader and the second on the label. Hands On was released in 2004. “Hands On” and “Time to Play” reached number four on Jazz Week, the national radio play chart. “Time to Play” and “Blue Blaze” received four stars in Downbeat Magazine. In 2009 Inner Rhythm released an EP Inner Rhythm Now! Jospé’s own instructional drum set and hand drum book and DVD Learn to Groove was released in 2008.

Throughout his career Jospé has played and recorded with many bands and in many musical styles including Tim Reynolds and TR3, (rock/reggae/fusion), John McCutcheon and SGGL, (folk rock), Robin and Linda Williams, (folk) with the John D’earth Quartet, the Jeff Decker Quartet with pianist Hod O’Brien and Royce Campbell (straight ahead jazz) and with Heather Maxwell (soul and Afro-Pop). Along with public concerts, Jospé and his band have also played many private events and house concerts including a performance with Tony Bennett in Germany in 2004.

In 2009 MBSR instructor Maria Kluge in collaboration with Jospé created a pilot program, Rhythm and Resilience, designed to improve the well being of participants through Mindfulness and drumming and began leading classes at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Rhythm and Resilience was offered monthly to the public as a free community program funded by the Kluge Foundation. In Oct. 2009 Jospé completed the Remo Health Rhythms Facilitators Training Workshop in Princeton, NJ.

Jospé was awarded the Artist, Educator of the Year, by the Charlottesville Jazz Society in 2012.

The Robert Jospé Express came together in 2012 when Butch Taylor, former keyboard player with the Dave Matthews band, returned from the West Coast, and they began playing gigs at Fellini’s in Charlottesville. A few months later bassist, Dane Alderson joined the band. In October 2014 a double CD of the band was released, “Classics” with the trio and “Doin’ It Up” included guitarist, Brian Mesko.

In 2018 Jospé became a full time faculty/lecturer at UVa teaching three levels of Learn To Groove, private drum set lessons and continuing as a member of the Free Bridge Quintet.

In 2019 Jospé released “Just Lookin'” his eighth CD as a leader. The new digital CD features John D’earth on trumpet along with the Express Quartet.

2023, currently The Robert Jospé Trio and Quartet includes piano/keyboards, guitar and bass.

Jospé continues to perform locally and regionally.

Jospé has been featured in Jazz Times Magazine and in Modern Drummer Magazine,, and The Savvy Musician.

Photo by Rich Tarbell