New York-based saxophonist, composer Pete Robbins has been on a fast- track, surging to the upper echelon of global jazz talent. And Pyramid rekindles impressions of drummer, composer John Hollenbeck's early 2013 release Songs I Like A Lot, where specific pop and rock songs from yesteryear, inspire the artists to execute a personal reinterpretation or refresh via the essence of modern jazz frameworks. Moreover, Robbins reaps the positive benefits of a superstar-like supporting band, including the recent recipient of a MacArthur Genius" grant, pianist Vijay Iyer. The quartet molds complex unison progressions, pensive overtones and a breezy rendering ...read more
Like most modern jazz players, alto saxophonist Pete Robbins works in multiple bands, playing varying styles and disciplines of this thing called jazz. Sounds reasonable, yes? But, thirty years ago this wasn't possible. Musicians, listeners, and jazz critics (let's not leave them out) had to take sides, choose categories and labels to classify and compartmentalize their music. You were either a traditionalist, a fusion advocate, or an avant-garde specialist. Neither the twain shall meet. Sound like politics in America today?Thankfully, we have shed those differentiations, and Robbins can dabble successfully in multiple jazz genres. His Transatlantic Quartet is ...read more
Pete Robbins is all about balance, in temperament and as an artist. He produces a polished sound on his alto saxophone, with a light tone betraying corners of darkness and complexity. Already an accomplished leader at 31, he grafts his sound onto ensembles of varying sizes with aplomb and equanimity. His style as a leader is distinctive. Just as distinctive are the contributions of his disciplined band members, heeding Robbins' swift directives but always sustaining a fine weave of individual voices.Robbins' works start out cool and cautious, dipping into danger as they go along, playing with fire here ...read more
Since his 2002 debut, Centric (Telepathy Records), saxophonist Pete Robbins has charted a centrifugal trajectory, moving outward from traditional boundaries. His previous releases--Waits & Measures (Playscape, 2006) and Do The Laugh Hate Shimmy (Fresh Sound New Talent, 2008)--incorporated elements of jazz, rock and electronics with thought-provoking writing and improvisation. Incessantly stirring the creative juices in any number of projects/ensembles, this release documents Robbins' siLENT Z band, at New York's Cornelia Street Cafe and would prompt the question of how his fertile ideas translate live. The key ingredient is an intrepid electro-acoustic ensemble of like-minded players featuring another ...read more
Downstairs at the Cornelia Street Café in the Village is one of the more intimate places to see live jazz in the city. The program there is intentionally eclectic and siLENT Z Live, from altoist Pete Robbins, captures his angular group in those comfortable environs. All other things being equal, the make or break for a live recording is the extent to which the performances thus immortalized remain fresh enough to endure repeated listening. Is the spontaneity and closeness, which allow live playing to be engaging, translated to disc in a way that retains that evening's communal ...read more
Altoist Pete Robbins' Do The Hate Laugh Shimmy functions like a treatise on synthesis, where disparate influences are not so much juxtaposed as woven together with style and grace. This CD makes a clear statement that these are times that celebrate a storied history of musical innovation. What felt like a gradual exploration of evolving alternatives in the 20th Century is now reaching a level of refinement, where today's innovators are synthesizing the work of predecessors who had done the same themselves.
While this is clearly a jazz record through and through, this is a form of jazz that's created ...read more
Although it's been over 35 years since Miles recorded Bitches Brew, music purists still experience seismic spasms whenever a musician releases an album that aggressively and successfully fuses jazz with rock. Waits & Measures is not so much a fusion album as it is a remarkable commandeering of sometimes conflicting harmonies into a smooth, cleverly voltaic record. Pete Robbins' music demands that the listener allow the music to unfold layer by layer, which it does, with dizzying speed. Robbins (alto saxophone, clarinet) explores both soft and abrasive tonal qualities in the context of various rhythms. Joining him ...read more