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
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
To coincide with an extensive tour of the northeastern US, Brooklyn-based alto saxophonist Pete Robbins has issued his second effort as a leader. And it offers a rock-solid glimpse of his artistry, chops and interesting methodology, all steeped within copious jazz-related genres. Simply stated, Robbins is a style master who sets himself apart from many of his peers.
Spanning hip, jazz-funk motifs and multidirectional currents, Robbins orchestrates a dense, tight-knit and capacious sequence of overtures on Waits & Measures. Eliot Krimsky's dirty Fender Rhodes piano and Mike Gamble's slightly fuzzed-out electric guitar lines impart a jazz-fusion edge in ...read more
If Waits & Measures is anything to go by, Pete Robbins likes to subvert form. In a lot of hands this disc might have turned out as no more than a light fusion date, long on melody but so short on character as to be emaciated. In the hands of Robbins and his band, however, this programme doesn't readily give up its secrets, thanks to its subtleties. The listener is thus forced to concentrate, and it's always beneficial to indulge in that underrated pastime.
The two players who are crucial to the success of this music are keyboardist Eliat Krimsky ...read more
Pete Robbins, a Bostonian and a recent graduate of Tufts and the New England Conservatory, has now settled in Brooklyn. Judging from Centric, the alto saxophonist and composer will be a welcome presence on the creative music scene. Paul Bley's liner notes give Robbins a strong and well-earned endorsement.
Leading a quintet through eight intense and thoughtful originals, Robbins displays a keen imagination and a rousing command of his horn. He also surrounds himself with serious talent, most notably tenor titan George Garzone, who blows like a demon throughout the session. Robbins voices many of the melodic lines for alto ...read more
The jazz artistry of Pete Robbins’ new recording Centric unfolds as a cool, intelligent, and modern soundscape. With a warm and lyrical sound from his alto saxophone, Robbins reveals a voice that is well beyond his years. Comparisons can be made to any musician, but when listening to Robbins, an early Wayne Shorter comes to mind in terms of phrasing and stylization. With keen writing and arranging skills, combined with a quintet of tight musicians, Centric is a stand-out recording.
With roots in the Boston jazz scene to gigs in Copenhagen, Robbins now resides in the ever-fertile jazz melting pot ...read more
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