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Take Five With Doug Robinson

Doug Robinson By

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Meet Doug Robinson:
Born in San Diego, multi-instrumentalist and composer Doug Robinson started playing drums in the Crawford High jazz ensemble in the '70s. Robinson studied with Frank Rehak and has recorded with notable artists like Mike Stern, Peter Erskine, John Patitucci, and many more.

Instrument(s):
Piano, organ, bass, drums, guitar, and vibes

Teachers and/or influences?
Dennis Foster, Frank Rehak, Al Bauman, and Jim Pappageorge from my high school days!

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...
I heard the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.

Your sound and approach to music:
I am a jazz musician at heart, so everything I play is influenced by that aesthetic. I compose melodic music that is accessible without being simple-minded. Although I am jazz musician through and through, I love all music and some of my work would fit in a quirky film soundtrack, as well as a club.

Your teaching approach:
Do what I ask you to do or find another teacher. Once we get past that, there are no wrong notes. Even bad notes choices can lead to amazing adventures.

Your dream band:
I've been lucky enough to play with some of my all-time favorite musicians like Peter Erskine, Dave Carpenter, John Patitucci, Mike Stern, and Bob Sheppard. Although I enjoy playing with the best, some of my most rewarding jazz moments have come from playing with lesser known cats like members from my old trio, Jazzoo, which features Duncan Moore and Ken Dow, or my musical soul mates, saxophonist David Scott and guitarist Ken Basman.

Today, I'd love to go in the studio with John Scofield, Brian Blade, Jimmy Johnson, George Young, and Ken Basman to see what would happen.

Road story: Your best or worst experience:
Best story: When I was in the studio with the A-team, playing my composition.
Worst story: Not being in the studio enough!

Favorite venue:
Dizzy's in San Diego; Chuck Perrin has his act together.

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?
Michael Brecker's Nearness of You: The Ballad Book (Verve, 2001). Such empathy between him and Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Jack DeJohnette, and Charlie Haden.

The first Jazz album I bought was:
Chuck Mangione, back when he was playing straight ahead with the amazing Gerry Niewood on sax.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?
My music is serious, but I insist on having fun with it.

Did you know...
I play 16 instruments.

CDs you are listening to now:
John Scofield, A Moment's Rest (EmArcy, 2011);
Weather Report, (Columbia, 2002);
Larry Goldings, Awareness (Warner, 1997).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?
We're fine, thanks. No, really!


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