• as leader [as co-leaderas sideperson]


Tiresian Symmetry

Jason Robinson - Tiresian Symmetry (25 September 2012/Cuneiform)

A ubiquitous and often pivotal figure in the stories and myths of ancient Greece, the blind prophet Tiresias was blessed and cursed by the gods, experiencing life as both a man and a woman while living for hundreds of years. Inspired by this mythology, Tiresian Symmetry is a polydirectional exploraton of narrativity in creative music and features a 9-piece expanded version of Robinson's Janus Ensemble that is inspired by the music of Henry Threadgill.

Jason Robinson (tenor and soprano saxes, alto flute), JD Parran (alto and contra bass clarinets, tenor sax), Marty Ehrlich (alto sax, bass clarinet), Bill Lowe (tuba, bass trombone), Marcus Rojas (tuba), Liberty Ellman (guitar), Drew Gress (bass), Greorge Schuller (drums), Ches Smith (drums, glockenspiel)

Listening examples: Elbow Grease, additional bonus tracks

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Reviews:

"a rugged and scintillating new album"
-Nate Chinen, New York Times

"densely orchestrated, cracklingly kinetic pieces for nonet."
-Time Out New York

"a collection of dense, multi-direction material that artfully straddles the composition-improv divide while weaving counterpoint lines, provocative harmonies and a well-grounded sense of groove [...] The introduction to 'Elbow Grease' is a stunning, unaccompanied showcase of multiphonics, circular breathing and extended techniques by the intrepid leader."
-Bill Milkowski, Downbeat (4 stars)

"On his new album, 'Tiresian Symmetry' (Cuneiform), Mr. Robinson, a saxophonist and composer drawn to mythological antiquity (and the textural palette of Henry Threadgill), leads his Janus Ensemble over an intriguingly shifting landscape."
-Nate Chinen, New York Times

"a sound of unusual depth and density [...] a silky, swaying exploration of light and dark [that] ends as a panoramic spectacle."
-Lloyd Sachs, JazzTimes

"densely orchestrated, cracklingly kinetic"
-Time Out New York

"Robinson also plays up the Tiresian dichotomy, through elegance and wooliness, composed and improvised, dense and lean."
-S. Victor Aaron, Something Else!

"Robinson and his unorthodox band manage to inject abundant soul, humor and bravura into every track, in the spirit of bandleaders like Charles Mingus, Anthony Braxton and Henry Threadgill. [...] For a composer of such dense material and one audacious enough to lead a band with doubled drums and tubas, Robinson is also quick to leave space for unaccompanied statements [...] It's a strategy that strikes a strong note of balance with the knotty ensemble passages that abound throughout the album and yet another thing to love about this uniquely compelling effort."
-Matthew Miller, The New York City Jazz Record

"Expansive arrangements are only one facet of Robinson's talents. A bold and confident interpreter, Robinson repeatedly structures his solo excursions using a variety of approaches, lending each statement its own unique narrative identity. His unaccompanied 'Elbow Grease Introduction' unveils a mastery of extended techniques; controlled altissimo, embouchure manipulation and overblown multiphonics are tastefully used to produce a series of lyrically deconstructed motifs that subtly foreshadow the theme to 'Elbow Grease,' which rushes headlong under the thrall of Robinson's marathon tenor testimonial. Thrilling in its intensity, Robinson's climactic performance is a remarkable demonstration of creativity, stamina and virtuosity, confirming Tiresian Symmetry as his most complete statement to date."
-Troy Collins, Point of Departure

"Robinson's richly nuanced, storytelling compositions are full of freedom, flexibility, inventiveness and humor. These compositions are performed brilliantly by a stellar cast of nine forward-thinking musicians [...]"
-Eyal Hareuveni, All About Jazz

 


The Two Faces of Janus

Jason Robinson - The Two Faces of Janus (5 October 2010/Cuneiform)

One face looking at the past, one face looking towards the future, Robinson's "Janus" project features a stellar cast of his most recent New York-based collaborators, all of who are distinguished figures in jazz and improvised music. The music is angular, expressive, emotional, and virtuosic and seamlessly moves from hard hitting grooves to beautiful abstract sound worlds.

Jason Robinson (tenor and soprano saxes, alto flute), Liberty Ellman (guitar), Drew Gress (bass), Greorge Schuller (drums), with Marty Ehrlich (alto sax, bass clarinet), Rudresh Mahanthappa (alto sax)

Listening examples: Return to Pacasmayo, The Elders

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Reviews:

"Robinson's compositions manage to draw a straight line through bop, Duke Ellington, Ornette Coleman and Eric Dolphy straight into the modern day with acute-angle swing, blues bluster and memorable themes that seem to scratch at the back of the mind with familiarity without resorting to quotation or imitation."
-Shaun Brady, DownBeat Magazine, FOUR STARS

"modern, oracular, and communal"
-Carlo Wolff, JazzTimes Magazine

"capaciously creative"
Andrew Gilbert, Boston Globe

"Robinson offers the antithesis to jazz highways frequently traversed."
-Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz

"a recording of staggering diversity"
-James Hall, about.com


Cerberus Reigning

Jason Robinson - Cerberus Reigning (5 October 2010/Accretions)

The second in a trilogy of conceptual solo saxophone releases, Cerberus Reigning captures Robinson's exciting work in realtime electroacoustic music. A richly evocative collection of pieces that tell a story about an other-worldly three-belled saxophone of sorts, the recording is an aural feast for adventurous listeners.

Jason Robinson (tenor and soprano saxes, alto flute, computer)

Listening examples: Broken Seals, Syrynx at the Edge of Nightfall

Full album info | purchase album| purchase digital download

Reviews:

"A capaciously creative improviser."
-Andrew Gilbert, Los Angeles Times

"[E]loquent testimony to both his eclecticism and his inside/outside approach."
-Bill Tilland, Signal to Noise Magazine

"Robinson's saxophones and flute [are] augmented through computer software and electronics to create some of the most unusual and arresting tracks in recent memory."
-Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz


Cerberus Rising

Jason Robinson - Cerberus Rising (2009/Circumvention)

Stark, moody, and deeply conceptual solo tenor saxophone release. The first in a trilogy of solo releases.

Jason Robinson (tenor sax)

Listening examples: Cerberus, Nonaah Variation, Palimpsest (for Kid)

Full album info | purchase album | purchase tracks

Reviews:

"Robinson's disc shows a genuinely imaginative range of approaches."
-Nate Dorward, Paris Transatlantic Magazine


Fingerprint

Jason Robinson - Fingerprint (2008/Circumvention)

All original material centered on a quartet and featuring pianist Anthony Davis on two large ensemble tracks.

Jason Robinson (tenor sax), Kamau Kenyatta (piano and sop sax), Rob Thorsen (bass), Nathan Hubbard (drums), Anthony Davis (piano 3, 5), Michael Dessen (trom 3, 5); wind ensemble (3): Ellen Weller (fl), Adnan Marquez-Borbon (fl), Andrew Geib (fl), Gabriel Sundy (b clar), Scott Walton (cond)

Listening examples (excerpts): The Wiggle Room, Silence Becomes a Roar (featuring Anthony Davis)

Full album info | purchase album | purchase tracks

Reviews:

“["Silence Becomes a Roar" is a] complex, multi-section tour de force that draws melodic and harmonic inspiration from Duke Ellington and Gil Evans... the saxophonist himself has a warm expressive tone, occasionally dipping into freer realms yet always staying true to the structure of his compositions.“
-Richard Moule, Signal to Noise

“Brav und eingängig sind die falschen Begriffe. Intensität und Intimität treffen es viel genauer... Unbedingte Empfehlung.” ["Good and unusual are the wrong terms. Intensity and intimacy meet it more exactly... Absolute recommendation.]
-Volkmar Mantei, Ragazzi


Fingerprint

Jason Robinson - Tandem (2002/Accretions)

A conceptual "duo" album of improvisations and compositions featuring a diverse cast of music makers.

Selected as a "critic's pick" for 2002 in JazzTimes Magazine.

Jason Robinson (tenor and alto sax, flute, clarinet, electronic), Anthony Davis (piano), Peter Kowald (bass), George Lewis (trombone), Michael Dessen (trombone), Hans Fjellestad (analogue synthesizers), Nathan Hubbard (percussion), Stephanie Johnson (electronics), Marcello Radulovich (electronics)

Listening examples (full tracks): Hogs and Swine (with George Lewis), SOS (Same Old Station) (with Marcello Radulovich), Birdrock Dub (with Michael Dessen)

Full album info | purchase album | purchase digital download

Reviews:

"Jason Robinson is prolific almost to a fault. Provocative and rewarding, "Tandem" makes it clear that Robinson's artistic evolution should be most fruitful."
-George Varga, San Diego Union Tribune

"[Tandem] brings some humor into the traditionally dour world of experimental music."
-Stuart Kremsky, Cadence

"...stimulating."
-Andy Hamilton, The Wire


Fingerprint

Jason Robinson - From the Sun (1998/Circumvention)

Robinson's debut album - all original compositions in a modern post-bop style. Features an array of well-known Bay Area jazz musicians.

Jason Robinson (tenor sax), Chuck MacKinnon (trumpet), Adam Theis (trombone), Randy Vincent (guitar), Jason Sherbundy (piano), Mel Graves (bass), Elliot Kavee (drums)

Listening examples (excerpts): Shorter Then Miles, Flight From the Sun (coming soon), Thought (coming soon)

Full album info | purchase album | purchase tracks

Reviews:

"Robinson’s CD [From the Sun] is a tour de force of composition and musicianship – a true compliment to the form."
-Argus Courier

"Jason Robinson sounds as if he could be recording in the '60s for respected jazz labels like Prestige, Fantasy, or Blue Note."
-Sonoma County Independent

"From the Sun is swinging and clear, tasteful with a modern edge, and should serve notice that Robinson has arrived."
-Sonoma County Independent

"[From the Sun] contains all original compositions and is a prime example of hard-driving modern jazz with accents that range from south of the border to heartache."
-Napa Valley Register

 

• as co-leader •


Cerulean Landscape

Jason Robinson and Anthony Davis - Cerulean Landscape (6 September 2010/Clean Feed)

With Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, and the post-60s jazz avant-garde as central reference points, Robinson and Davis bring together their formidable experience in many different music worlds, spilling over the traditional boundaries of the horn/piano duo. One moment minimalist, another orchestral, another beautifully melodic – Cerulean Landscape invites listeners into a sound world of deep blues, a place of surreal horizons, intense emotions, and hypnotic melodies.

Jason Robinson (tenor, alto, and soprano saxes, alto flute), Anthony Davis (piano)

Listening examples: Cerulean Seas and Viridian Skies, Shimmer

Full album info | purchase album | purchase digital download

Reviews:

"[M]ood and interplay are more important than volume or scale."
-Ron Wynn, JazzTimes Magazine

"[A] consummate summation of the jazz tradition in its most conversational and fundamental form."
-Troy Collins, All About Jazz

"almost Ellingtonian in their lapidary elegance and beauty, highlighting the richness of Davis' chordal voicings and Robinson's big, brawny, Ben Webster-ish tone on tenor."
-The Stash Dauber

"[I]nspired by their mutual passion for the music of Duke Ellington and spohisticated blues forms in a variety of hues, [their duet] is by turns lyrical and edgy, inviting and challenging. It's steeped in jazz traditions that are handily extended, which is Robinson's raison d'etre for making music."
-George Varge, San Diego Union-Tribune


Cosmologic - Eyes in the Back of My Head

Cosmologic - Eyes in the Back of My Head (2008/Cuneiform)

The group's 4th album of all original material and their debut on the diverse Cuneiform label.

Jason Robinson (tenor sax), Michael Dessen (trombone), Nathan Hubbard (percussion), Scott Walton (bass)

Listening examples (excerpts): The Rumpus

Full album info | purchase album

Reviews:

"Eyes in the Back of My Head is a richly rewarding statement from a group whose time for greater exposure is long overdue. Accessible yet forward thinking, this is contemporary West Coast jazz at its most heartfelt and adventurous."
-Troy Collins, All About Jazz


Cross Border Trio - New Directions

Cross Border Trio - New Directions (2007/Circumvention)

Arresting debut album by the transnational jazz group. Features original compositions developed over years of playing in the Mexico / USA transborder region.

Jason Robinson (tenor sax and flute), Rob Thorsen (bass), Paquito Villa (drums)

Listening examples (excerpts): 17th and Capp, Hell in Hat Yai

Full album info | purchase album

Reviews:

"A formidable release."
-Andy Hamilton, The Wire

"Robinson leads the charge, his tenor the beacon for the rhythm section. He has a raw energy; he's a big brawny player who nevertheless can go all soft and gentle, and swing as well, bringing a welcome balance to the music... a fine debut."
-All About Jazz

"Das Cross Border Trio liebt den feinen, zarten Klang der Instrumente, den es nur hier und dort, auf Grund erhöhten Ausbruchs leidenschaftlicher Emotionen überschreitet. Augen zu und Ohren auf!"
-Volkmar Mantei, Ragazzi


Cosmologic - III

Cosmologic - III (2005/Circumvention)

The quartet's third reease presents kaleidoscopic sound worlds and eloquently draws upon different but related traditions of improvised music.

Jason Robinson (tenor sax), Michael Dessen (trombone), Nathan Hubbard (percussion), Scott Walton (bass)

Listening examples (excerpts): X Marks the Spot (Hubbard), Indianhead Canyon (Hubbard)

Full album info | purchase album | purchase tracks

Reviews:

"Cosmologic music is initiated by individual members and then doggedly worked and reworked until its internal logics are available for genuinely creative improvisation.... More than impressive."
-The Wire, Brian Morton

"The third and newest album by this talent-rich San Diego quartet is a gem of crisp ensemble-playing and finely calibrated improvisations..."
-San Diego Union Tribune, George Varga

"III doesn’t so much stand as a document of the history of jazz as a brochure for the infinite varieties of modern improvisation.... Incredibly rewarding... Sure, it takes a little work but, for every cerebral exercise the listener is required to work through, there’s a funky-as-all-hell payoff."
-One Final Note, Daniel Spicer


Fjellestad/Kowald/Reason/Robinson - Dual Resonance

Hans Fjellestad/Peter Kowald/Dana Reason/Jason Robinson - Dual Resonance (2003/Circumvention)

A "living" tribute of sorts that features the influential late German bassist Peter Kowald in a variety of groupings.

Jason Robinson (tenor sax, flute, electronics), Dana Reason (piano), Hans Fjellestad (analogue syntheziser and piano), Peter Kowald (bass)

Listening examples (excerpts): ...coming soon...

Full album info | purchase album

Reviews:

"[Dual Resonance] is a presentation of free expression by creative artists interacting with the idea of the moment. While the passing of Kowald places a different spin on the sessions, the music itself breathes in testament to the artistry of these four players."
-Frank Rubolino, All About Jazz

"Kowald's legacy is in good hands."
-Ken Waxman, Jazz Weekly

"[Dual Resonance is] an up-and-down ride, a funhouse of surprises."
-Tom Djll, Signal to Noise


Cosmologic - Syntaxis

Cosmologic - Syntaxis (2002/Circumvention)

Sophmore release by the critically-acclaimed avant-jazz quartet. All original compositions.

Jason Robinson (tenor sax, flute, electronics), Michael Dessen (trombone, percussion), Nathan Hubbard (percussion), Scott Walton (bass)

Listening examples (excerpts): Restless Years (Dessen), A Secret No One Knows II (Hubbard), Axis (Robinson)

Full album info | purchase album | purchase tracks

Reviews:

"The music crosses chronological time zones, showing total understanding of the history of free playing...Cosmologic is a together band with many inventive cards up its sleeve. It presents music of burly consistency without sacrificing sensitivity."
-Cadence Magazine, Frank Rubilino

"Forget commercial labeling, this is real contemporary jazz."
-Jazz Weekly, Ken Waxman

"Wildly spontaneous... Fascinating..."
-Los Angeles Times, Don Heckman


Cosmologic - Staring at the Sun

Cosmologic - Staring at the Sun (2000/Circumvention)

Debut album by the (then) San Diego-based quartet.

Jason Robinson (tenor sax), Michael Dessen (trombone), Scott Walton (bass), Nathan Hubbard (percussion)

Listening examples (excerpts): Mountains and Waters (Dessen), Hell in Hat Yai (Robinson), Shrouded Over With Fog (Hubbard)

Full album info | purchase album | purchase tracks

Reviews:

"...this unit bumps and grinds from all sides... Long gone are the days when things West Coast were considered pallid in relation to anything East Coast, and for any of the doubters out there, here's the proof positive."
-Coda Magazine, Marc Chenard

"With motivated and talented young musicians of this calibre, there's no doubt that jazz can be a creative force. Long gone are the days when things West Coast were considered pallid in relation to anything East Coast, and for any of the doubters out there, here's the proof positive."
-Coda Magazine, Marc Chenard

"Intense peaks of clamorous excitement... Near-spiritual communication... The group dynamics of Cosmologic are in full effect, and the music is commanding. As a unit, these four musicians click."
-Cadence Magazine, Frank Rubilino

 

• as sideperson / compilations (partial listing) •

Marty Ehrlich Large Ensemble - A Trumpet in the Morning (2013/New World Records)
Groundation - Building an Ark (2012/VP Records)
Various - Accretions 25 (2010/Accretions)
Groundation - Here I Am (2009/Youngtree)
B*Side Players - Radio*Afro*Mexica (2009/global noize)
Elijah Emanuel - Tres Sangres (2008/independent)
Toots and the Maytals - Light Your Light (2007/Fantasy)
Groundation - Upon the Bridge (2006/Youngtree)
Trummerflora Collective - Rubble 2 2006 (2006/Accretions/Circumvention)
Nathan Hubbard - (compositions 1998-2005) (2006/Circumvention)
sound check one: music from uc san diego (2006)
David Borgo - Reverence for Uncertainty (2004/Circumvention)
Elijah Emanuel and the Revelations - Persistence of Vision (2004)
Solrak and the New Aztec Empire - La Vida es La Muerte (2004/West Up Records)
Trummerflora Collective Rubble 1 (2004/Accretions/Circumvention)
Nathan Hubbard - Skeleton Key Orchestra (2003/Circumvention)
Groundation (with Don Carlos & The Congos) - Dragon War LP (2003/Youngtree)
Frontier Life: Banda Sonora (2002/Accretions)
Groundation (with Don Carlos & The Congos) - Hebron Gate (2002/Youngtree)
Marcelo Radulovich - Hello (2002/Accretions)
Marcos Fernandes - Hybrid Vigor (2002/Accretions) UCSD Department of Music - Compilation CD 1996-2000 (2002)
Off the Road: Peter Kowald Touring the U.S. in 2000 (a documentary film by Laurence Petit-Jouvet) (2001)
Anthony Davis - Tania (2001/Koch International)
Cannonball - Hiphopulation (2001)
Trummerflora - No Stars Please (2001/Accretions)
Groundation (with Ras Michael and Marcia Higgs) - Each One Teach One (2001/Youngtree)
Hans Fjellestad - Red Sauce Baby (2000/Accretions)
Groundation - Youngtree (2000/Youngtree)
Cannonball - Funky Soul Music (1998/Flying Harold)
Amos Robinson - Wizard of Henge (1995/Omniphonic)
Jazz at USC (1994)
Amos Robinson - Mental Floss (1994/Omniphonic)

 

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