A saxophonist, improviser, composer, and teacher, Jason Robinson is schooled in jazz and experimental music. A founding member of the San Diego-based Trummerflora Collective and founder of the small artist-owned record label Circumvention Music, he is mostly active in creative jazz as a leader, but his sideman duties have included West Coast funk and roots reggae bands. He has played in Cosmologic, Crucial, Groundation, and Cannonball, among other groups.
Robinson's professional activities started while he was based in Sonoma County, where he completed a double bachelor's degree in philosophy and music. He played in Ernie Small's Monday Night Big Band and studied with bassist Mel Graves, whom he cites as a mentor. Graves appeared on his debut album, From the Sun, released in 1998 on his freshly incepted label. That year, Robinson moved to San Diego to pursue graduate studies at U.C.S.D. Among his teachers was Anthony Davis, with whom he has recorded (the student appears on Tania, while Davis is featured on two pieces of Tandem).
The experimental music scene in San Diego was on the verge of coalescing. Robinson got acquainted with Marcos Fernandes, Marcelo Radulovich, Hans Fjellestad, and Robert Montoya. Along with a few more musicians, they formed the improvising group Trummerflora Collective, whose debut album No Stars Please came out in 2001. Robinson also formed the trio Maroja with Fernandes and Montoya. These projects represent his most exploratory music. Meanwhile, he put together his own avant-jazz sax/bass/drums trio with Rob Thorsen and Brett Sanders, plus he started the jam-jazz quartet Cosmologic. In addition to these projects, he got involved in a number of reggae, funk, and groove music bands.
Since the very end of the 1990s, Robinson has been teaching jazz theory at U.C.S.D. He performs regularly in the San Diego, San Francisco, and Los Angeles areas, but also made trips to Alaska and New York. In 2002, he released Tandem, a set of duos, on the Trummerflora-associated label Accretions.