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Jazz saxophonist Jason Robinson finds his influences in Los Angeles

December 31, 2010 |  4:04 pm

Jason robinson From Sonoma to San Diego, saxophonist and Amherst College professor Jason Robinson has forged strong ties with creative improvisers across California.

Robinson, who divides his time between San Diego and Massachusetts, has found a deep well of  inspiration within Los Angeles' far-flung scene. Robinson is probably best known to Angelenos through performances at the Temple Bar, Roxy, Troubadour and House of Blues in West Hollywood with various reggae and funk bands.

But he's also been a regular presence in jazz and new music settings, playing the Hollywood incarnation of Rocco and the now defunct Monday night "line space line" series organized by Jeremy Drake and Chris Heenan at Silver Lake's Salvation Theater.  Robinson performs this weekend with the cooperative quartet Cosmologic at Eagle Rock’s Center for the Arts Sunday Evening Music Series.

He cites several Southland icons as seminal influences, particularly multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia and trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith ("His artistic intensity remains a beacon of inspiration for me," Robinson says. "Even the way he plays one note.") Trumpeter and computer musician Jeff Kaiser, long based in Ventura, helped shape Robinson's approach to working with electroacoustic music software, which the saxophonist artfully employs on his recent solo session "Cerberus Reigning."

But considering Robinson's commitment to bypassing music industry infrastructure to bring unmediated music directly to underexposed communities, his most profound mentor might be the late, lamented pianist, composer and tireless creative force Horace Tapscott, a musician he never actually met.

"I continue to be inspired by Horace Tapscott and his legacy in Los  Angeles," Robinson says. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for creative artists who direct much of their energy towards community support and enrichment, like the AACM in Chicago and New York, Tapscott's UGMAA, and Kamau  Daaood at the World Stage in Leimert Park, who have paved the way for a new kind of community-centric creative music  and arts."

Click here to read the Calendar interview with Jason Robinson.

-- Andrew Gilbert

Photo: Jason Robinson. Credit: Allen J. Schaben

 From Sonama to San Diego, saxophonist and Amherst College professor
Jason Robinson has forged strong ties
with creative improvisers across California. While he didn't live in
Los Angeles long, returning to Sonoma
State after his freshman year at USC, he's found a deep well of
inspiration within the region's far flung scene.
Robinson is probably best known to Angelenos through performances at
the Temple Bar, Roxy, Troubadour and
House of Blues in West Hollywood with various reggae and funk bands.
But he's also been a regular presence in jazz and
new music settings, playing the Hollywood incarnation of Rocco and the
now defunct Monday night "line space line" series
organized by Jeremy Drake and Chris Heenan at Silver Lake's Salvation
Theater.

Robinson cites several Southland icons as seminal influences,
particularly multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia and
trumpeter/composer Wadada Leo Smith ("His artistic intensity remains a
beacon of inspiration for me," Robinson
says. "Even the way he plays one note.") Trumpeter and computer
musician Jeff Kaiser, long based in Ventura,
helped shape Robinson's approach to working with electroacoustic music
software, which the saxophonist artfully
employs on his recent solo session "Cerberus Reigning." But considering
Robinson's commitment to bypassing music
industry infrastructure to bring unmediated music directly to
underexposed communities, his most profound mentor
might be the late, lamented pianist, composer and tireless creative
force Horace Tapscott, a musician he never
actually met.

"I continue to be inspired by Horace Tapscott and his legacy in Los
Angeles," Robinson says. "I have a tremendous
amount of respect for creative artists who direct much of their energy
towards community support and enrichment,
like the AACM in Chicago and New York, Tapscott's UGMAA, and Kamau
Daaood at the World Stage in Leimert Park, who
have paved the way for a new kind of community-centric creative music
and arts."
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