Alto saxophonist Justin Robinson was born August 14, 1968, in Manhattan. He first picked up a horn at the age of 13, and honed his sound while attending the High School of Music and Arts (LaGuardia High School) in New York.
Robinson developed a passion for the alto sax and, from the influences of Charlie Parker and Jackie McLean, crafted his own distinctive sound. Robinson has collaborated with eminent artists such as the Harper Brothers, Cecil Brooks III, Abbey Lincoln, Diana Ross, Little Jimmy Scott, and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, The Dizzy Gillespie All Star Band, and most recently, The Roy Hargrove Big Band in addition to the Roy Hargrove Quintet.
Justin Robinson wields a hefty portfolio: joined Harper Brothers at 18, debuted on Verve at 22, a decade's-worth of star sideman gigs. All of that hang-time paid off with his 1998 recording The Challenge on Arabesque Records. Penning six of the compositions, selecting an inspired posse of young ringers (Ron Blake, tenor sax; Stephen Scott, piano; Dwayne Burno, bass; Dion Parsons, drums), Robinson also produced the whole shebang.
Robinson also released as a solo artist Justin Time in 1991 with Verve Music Group label. It was produced by Bobby Watson, who also appears on the recording, in additon to Gary Bartz, on alto saxophones, and includes more young ringers of that time: Eddie Henderson - trumpet; Kenny Barron, Stephen Scott - pianos; Peter Washington - bass; Lewis Nash - drums.
Justin Robinson lives in New Jersey and is currently touring with trumpeter Roy Hargrove.
Photo Credit: Eddy Westveer
... "For every young jazz musician the challenge lies in their ability to develop an original, uniquely identifiable sound. Altoist Justin Robinson, whose sound and approach owe a huge debt to Charlie Parker, has a way to go before he meets that goal. Justin spent some time in the short-lived Harper Brother's band (along with pianist Stephen Scott) and has released one other record under his name-- Justin Time
(Verve/1991). Scott, who has since carved out a fine career of his own, accompanies Justin again on The Challenge
and is the album's strongest presence. He makes the most of his solo opportunities and his originals, "Master Scott" and "The Challenge," are solid. Robinson's compositions reflect a deep love and respect for his family. "No More Sacrifices" is an intense 16-bar blues dedicated to his mother, while the ballad "Love Thy Father" and "Adnil," a playful tribute to his younger sister, demonstrate that Justin possesses a certain talent for writing. Tenorist Ron Blake augments the quartet on four tunes and his interaction with the leader is pleasantly combative. " ~~ John Sharpe, All About Jazz, 1999