Robert Castillo is an upright and electric bassist, composer and arranger, visual artist, meditation instructor, and community organizer. This Kansas City native creates with the intent to imbue individuals with positivity so that they may be inspired to help construct a more beautiful world.
After graduating from North Kansas City High School in 2010, Robert attended North Central College in Naperville IL, majoring in Jazz Studies and minoring in Environmental Studies. Shortly after, he moved to the West Coast where accepted a position with AmeriCorps as the K-8 Music Teacher at Fossil Elementary School in Fossil, OR (pop. 473). Along with developing his own curriculum, he taught lessons on various instruments including piano, drums, bass, violin, cello, and guitar. Castillo found himself with ample free time in the central Oregon high desert, during which he further developed his meditation practice, composed and arranged music, and created visual art.
Following his time in Fossil, Robert moved to Portland, OR where he founded the groove jazz ensemble The Sextet. Consisting of three horns and three piece rhythm section, The Sextet plays music to move to and be moved by. Much of the music written in Fossil can be heard on their first album “In a Natural State.” When Robert moved back to Kansas City in the Fall of 2016, he reformed the group and released a second album “Blob Castle” in 2017. The Sextet released their third album “Among Friends” in September 2019. The album was well received, garnering recognition from the local NPR radio station. Aside from The Sextet, Robert performs all over the United States collaborating with musicians of any genre. One of these groups, The Standard vocal jazz ensemble, has been presented seven times with the Downbeat Music Award.
In March 2018 Robert was challenged to create enough visual art to host a solo show that following December. He has since shown his work several times, selling many of his paintings. As with music, his style is varied. His subjects include Post-Classic Mayan imagery, geometric abstraction akin to Kandinsky, and at times incorporates Van Gogh-like impressionistic backgrounds. The mediums he uses include oil, acrylic, watercolor, gouache, colored pencil, and paint pens. Visual art has become a passion deeper than he could have ever imagined and he has visions to create monumental works.
Robert is a committee member of the Latino Arts Festival and a mentor for the Latino Arts Foundation. He also volunteers as the Assistant Director of Programming for the Art as Mentorship youth music program. Robert can be found volunteering at Cross-Lines Community Outreach, where he also serves on the Young Professionals Board.