“MORE TOMORROW”: SCOTT ROBINSON, “TENORMORE”

Scott Robinson isn’t a single flower; he’s a whole garden in bloom.  Each phrase he plays contains surprises: sounds and feelings he is intent on sharing with us.

He does so many things well that perhaps it’s hard for those of us who love him to sit down and contemplate him as he deserves.  Having heard him in person for fifteen years, I am always amazed.  He is brave; he is honest; he doesn’t coast.  Like him, his music is welcoming, never predictable; kind and energized.

His most recent CD, TENORMORE, is a great accomplishment, and it reflects his long love affair with the tenor saxophone, which he plays with more ardor and expertise than others who are better-known.  Unlike some of his recordings, it is narrow in its focus (“narrow” is a compliment here): he plays only that one horn, and there are four musicians with him: Helen Sung, piano, Hammond B3 organ; Dennis Mackrel, drums; Martin Wind, string bass and acoustic bass guitar; Sharon Robinson plays flute on THE WEAVER.

The disc starts in the most open way: a solo performance by Scott on the Lennon-McCartney song of my youth, AND I LOVE HER, which shows not only his full mastery of the horn but also his passion, controlled yet ferocious.  And from then you’re on your own: Scott’s music is too spacious to compartmentalize, although I know some listeners will be putting what they hear in tiny labeled boxes, but it would be both rude and reductive to do so.  I have written more briefly than usual of this CD because it’s too spacious for mere prose.

But what I hear on this disc is a wooing, playful love — for the horn, for the musics it can make — Scott’s deep feelings for the worlds he knows and those he wants us to imagine.  I particularly delight in his purring sweet PUT ON A HAPPY FACE, which feels like a kind arm around your shoulders when you feel low, and the dance he and wife Sharon perform on THE WEAVER.  Other standards, explored with care and daring, include THE NEARNESS OF YOU and THE GOOD LIFE, and original compositions are Martin Wind’s RAINY RIVER, Scott’s own TENOR ELEVEN, TENOR TWELVE, and the title song.

But this will show and tell you more than I ever could:

TENORMORE is also a celebration of Scott’s 60th birthday.  Savor with me the pleasure of saying, “I share the planet with Scott Robinson.  My goodness, what a great thing that is!

And a postscript, just in: I saw this quotation on Facebook and instantly  thought of Scott and TENORMORE: We are slowed down sound and light waves, a walking bundle of frequencies tuned into the cosmos. We are souls dressed up in sacred biochemical garments and our bodies are the instruments through which our souls play their music.  The source?  Albert Einstein, violin.

May your happiness increase!

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7 responses to ““MORE TOMORROW”: SCOTT ROBINSON, “TENORMORE”

  1. Sonny McGown

    Dear Michael,

    I am thrilled to see this post. Scott has been a good friend of mine since the late 1970s. We met through his brother and my best friend David Robinson at a backyard jam session in Fairfax VA. What I heard on tenor saxophone that day convinced me this fellow was special; his musical ideas and technical facility stood out like a sore thumb. Like you, I have had the distinct pleasure of hearing him on numerous occasions and each one left me astounded. The most memorable time was in the early 1990s when the late Rich Connaty presented a Big Broadcast concert at the Danny Kaye Theater in NYC. Scott had a complete array of the saxophone family lined up by physical size from sopranino to contrabass. I may be faulty in my memory but I think the tune he performed was “Stardust”. He started with the sopranino and proceeded to play continuously down the line ending on the contrabass. To this day I have never seen or heard anything comparable in musical effort or execution.
    And while this new CD is strictly dedicated to tenor, I swear there is not an instrument created by man that he cannot play and play it well. I hope this new CD is a success and brings new listeners to his following. By the way this link
    https://youtu.be/Sjd7ZB0yqRU provides a fascinating story about the hat pictured on the new CD cover. It’s just another example of his unlimited creativity.
    Sonny McGown

  2. Dan Morgenstern

    Nice! I wrote about it and Scott in Jersey Jazz last month….

    >

  3. He’s a fine player.

    But the Einstein attribution — no, he didn’t say that. Quotations shared online are so often dubious:

    https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/einstein-sound-and-light-waves/

  4. Sonny McGown

    Brother David Robinson confirmed that “Stardust” was song that Scott performed on all of the saxophones. He also corrected me and provided the actual timeframe for the Rich Conaty “Big Broadcast” concert which was in late June 1996.

  5. Thank you, Michael. But I studied Yeats for about fifteen years and like his comment that “the lies of history” are most important.

  6. To each his own. But it does a disservice to your reader and to truth to attribute words to Einstein with no basis.

    P.S.: I studied and taught Yeats for many years too. I believe it was Yeats who said “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internets.” 🙂

  7. Thank you, Mr. Leddy. But our dance is over; the band has packed up. Have a splendid day.

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