Scott Robinson

Melody from the Sky

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Known as a multi-talented/stylistic woodwindist, Robinson concentrates on the C-Melody saxophone for this CD, which makes it not only a rarity, but an event unto itself. He also showcases a four-pitch selection: organ based, string quartet flavored, straight-ahead swing, and guitar-oriented jams with either James Chirillo or Marty Grosz on four cuts apiece. Mark Shane and Larry Ham split keyboard duties, with Lee Hudson or Greg Cohen on bass, and occasionally Cohen plays a bass marimba originally owned by Sun Ra. On the lighter side is the solo laden, easily swung "Davenport Blues," the relaxed quartet take of "This Is No Laughing Matter," the quaint "For No Reason at All," and the old-timey, stride-based title track. With the strings the slowed torch song "Where Is Love?" is short and sweet with no solos, the quartet adds spice without being overbearing during "I'm Making Believe," and turns "Count Your Blessings" into a languid, heartfelt ice melter. Also in a classical/romantic vein is the serene 3/4 Saint Saens piano (Ham)/sax ballet "The Swan." The organ numbers provide the greatest contrast and offer Robinson a challenge to make the sounds mesh; in fact, the keyboard sounds more like a C-3. In this area are the classic ballad "Isfahan," the reverential organ- (Shane) based "Sweet Rhythm" with choppy, banjo-like chords from Grosz, the modern "Freedom Jazz Dance"-type Robinson original "C Here" with organ by Ham on top (no foot pedal bass), and a loping legato sax and subtle marimba lurking behind while stretched, long organ tones from Ham inform the ballad take on "Singin' the Blues." In an Earl Bostic tone, Rudy Wiedhoeft's '20s-era "Saxophone Blues" is an 8+ minute-long, blues-drenched, country-styled groove swing, with again Ham and Chirillo's single-line solo a highlight. The best swinger is a John Kirby/Raymond Scott/Keystone Cops-ish Robinson-penned "Ups & Downs," trumped up by Jon Erik-Kellso's trumpet, while a hard bopping sax/guitar (Chirillo) line sets the fuse on Robinson's "Yardville," while Grosz and Cohen's slight marimba inserts a buoy for Robinson's good swing on "Just Like a Melody out of the Sky." If it were just a matter of sound, this would be a novelty item, but Robinson plays the C-melody so well without straining or going overtly smooth. The instrument, though not being produced anymore, deserves a revisit and a close listen on this truly delightful, high-variety recording that is better upon repeated listenings. Highly recommended.

blue highlight denotes track pick