Ross Traut (1972) – Guitar
Autobiographical Sketch

Ross Traut at Lake Geneva Playboy Club

​How lucky was I to attend New Trier West during the time that Roger Mills was teaching music. Joining the New Trier West High School Jazz Ensemble helped me to grow as a musician and learn the skills needed to become a professional, but most of all to experience the joy of performing with a band and be witness to the hustle to make it all happen. Roger had all of that in spades. His knowledge was encyclopedic, his enthusiasm infectious, his hustle relentless, his imagination boundless! I am proud to be associated with that band, my fellow band members were so dedicated to the music and at the same time so fun loving and easy to be around. A fine bunch indeed.

The magical trip we took to Montreux was an experience of a lifetime that I will never forget. To realize our dream was such a confidence booster for me on my way to study jazz at the University of Miami and then as a bandleader, sideman, and studio musician in Chicago and later in New York City.

After moving to New York, I met my wife, Rosa Rodriguez, while she was attending graduate school studying Dance at Sarah Lawrence College. Rosa performed as a postmodern dancer for many years in NYC and toured with Kei Takei. She also taught dance at local colleges and later became a personal trainer. For six years, she was James Taylor’s personal trainer and one of his tour managers. She now works as a licensed massage therapist specializing in a technique called Ortho-Bionomy. Check it out, it works!

We are blessed to have a son, Charles. He attended Brooklyn Tech High School and won three college scholarships. One for creative writing from Penguin/Random House and one for design from the Graphic Communications Foundation. He went on to attend The School of the Art Institute of Chicago on a merit scholarship, graduated in 2020, and is currently living and working in Chicago. Go Charles!

After a thirty plus year career in music, my attentions turned to visual art and specifically, Navajo Textiles. I began collecting and eventually became a trader in these fascinating and beautiful pieces of art.

Click Here to see an article from 2012 touching on this part of my life.

I have been fortunate to be able to follow my interests in life and turn them in to vocations. Thank you, Roger Mills, and NTW for getting me started early.

Discography as artist and co-artist w/Steve Rodby
Ross Traut, Headfirst Records, 1981
The Great Lawn, Columbia Records, 1989
The Duo Life, Columbia Records, 1991

Appeared on records for artists including

James Taylor, Curtis Mayfield, Buddy Rich, Eliane Elias, Paul McCandless, Dave Samuels, Eric Hochberg (New Trier West Jazz alumnus) and Fred Simon.

For a more comprehensive list go to

Appeared on stage with artists including

Joe Henderson, Paul Bley, Jaco Pastorius, Jan Garbarek, Eberhard Weber, Paul McCandless, Dave Samuels, and Michael Franks.