10

Scott Robinson: Tenormore

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
When attempting to lend form to the term "rara avis" in jazz, Scott Robinson instantly appears in the mind's eye. He's most easily recognized these days as a horn heavy on the most standard of heavy horns, adding ballast and low-end individuality to the sound of Maria Schneider's orchestra with his baritone saxophone, but Robinson is also beyond proficient—a virtuoso, in fact—on numerous instruments that most people don't even know exist. His arsenal includes theremin, ophicleide, sarrusophone, alto clarinet, echo cornet, bass marimba, contrabass banjo, and a few hundred other rarities.

Long before Robinson acquired his treasure trove of instrumental curiosities, his heart belonged to the second instrument he ever owned (behind a 1927 Conn alto saxophone from his grandfather) and the first instrument he actually purchased: a silver 1924 Conn tenor saxophone procured from a Maryland antique store in 1975. That tenor has been a constant for Robinson since it came into his life, so it's only fitting that the horn receives its due on what is, surprisingly, the multi-instrumentalist's first all-tenor date. In some respects, such a project seems limiting for a man who thrives on diversification. But the album itself makes an important point which counters that line of thinking: the man, not the vessel, is the music. The range of expression that Robinson is capable of eliciting from a single horn—this single horn, for this affair—is astounding.

Opening on a stratospheric four-note motif that introduces a solo take of "And I Love Her," Robinson's vision proves rangy from the start. There is romance in the music for sure, but also a hint of feral snark. As the program plays on, Robinson works his tenor for all it's capable of while also thriving in the atmospheres he creates with his A-list bandmates—pianist/organist Helen Sung, bassist Martin Wind, and drummer Dennis Mackrel. This quartet bumps and grinds its way through an eleven-bar blues aptly named "Tenor Eleven," turns "Put On A Happy Face" into a ballad that balances the scales of emotions with rueful revisionism, sets a cool-headed take on "The Good Life" into motion with some free improvisation, and visits church on Wind's soulful, organ-enhanced "Rainy River."

Scott Robinson may typically take instrumental variegation to a level unsurpassed in this music, but that shouldn't diminish his position as a tenor saxophonist of note. In that most crowded of fields, he still stands out.

Track Listing

And I Love Her; Tenor Eleven; Put On A Happy Face; Morning Star; The Good Life; Tenor Twelve; Rainy River; The Weaver; The Nearness Of You; Tenormore.

Personnel

Helen Sung: Hammond B3 organ (7, 9); Sharon Robinson: flute (8).

Album information

Title: Tenormore | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Arbors Records

Watch

Tags

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and through our retail affiliations you'll support us in the process.

MUSICSTACK
Rare vinyl LPs and CDs from over 1,000 independent sellers
AMAZON
CDs, Vinyl, Blu-Ray DVDS, Prime membership, Alexa, SONOS and more
HD TRACKS
Specializing in high resolution and CD-quality downloads
CD UNIVERSE
Specializing in music, movies and video games
REVERB
Marketplace for new, used, and vintage instruments and gear

More

Read #BLACKLIVESMATTER
#BLACKLIVESMATTER
The Ogún Meji Duo featuring Dr. Mark Lomax, II and Edwin Bayard
Read Africa Today
Africa Today
Etuk Ubong
Read Stillefelt
Stillefelt
Stillefelt
Read Act Three
Act Three
John Hart
Read First EP
First EP
True East
Read Danzón Cubano
Danzón Cubano
Marialy Pacheco
Read Occupational Hazard
Occupational Hazard
Jacek Kochan & musiConspiracy