Watching the GRAMMYs this Sunday? Montclair High School Senior Robin Baytas will be all eyes. But he’ll see rock stars from inside the Los Angeles Convention Center. Robin was selected for the highly competitive GRAMMY Jazz Ensemble. Not only did he score an all-expenses-paid, week-long trip to California, he also gets to perform on awards night, record a CD and put his name in for college scholarships.
He’s been playing the drums since he was 7, starting on African drums with bassist Reggie Workman and his wife Maya. Today, at 17, he’s been involved with NJPAC’s Jazz for Teens, the Litchfield Jazz Camp and MSU’s Jazz Connections Summer Program. He has performed with pros like Claudio Roditi, Mark Whitfield and Wycliffe Gordon, and Robin regularly does gigs around New Jersey and New York.
About the GRAMMYs, he added, “In my never-ending quest to better myself as a musician, winning this award will help me tremendously, and it is more than I could ever ask for,” he said.
He’s psyched to meet the country’s hottest musicians. To sweeten the prize, he headed to LA with his drummer pal, junior Evan Sherman from Millburn High School who was also accepted. “This is such a privilege, and I am immensely thankful for it,” Robin said.
See him playing Hello Dolly in Queens last year, below.