Scott Robinson always thinks big. He has appeared in all types of jazz settings including the Dixieland scene, playing hard bop and in very adventurous big bands, and playing virtually every type of reed (and sometimes brass) instrument. The music on this CD is mostly comprised of vintage tunes from the '20s to the '40s. Robinson, who is joined by up to six other musicians (including trumpeter David Robinson, trombonist Dan Barrett, and guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli), sticks to reeds here: clarinet, bass clarinet, C-melody sax, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass sax, contrabass sax, contrabass sarrusophone, and the very haunting Theremin. From the first cut, Lil Hardin's "My Heart" (recorded by Louis Armstrong's Hot Five) on which Robinson plays tenor a bit like Stan Getz, it is obvious that this is going to be an unusual but very musical date. Robinson uses the bizarre sounding Theremin on "Mood Indigo" and in place of Kay Davis' wordless voice on Duke Ellington's "On a Turquiose Cloud." He only plays the contrabass sarrusophone on "Mandy, Make Up Your Mind" (which in 1924 had the only other recorded sarrusophone solo) and his playing falls short of Sidney Bechet's maiden effort. No matter, his bass sax work (showcased on "Sleepy Time Gal," "It's Magic," and "Stompin' at the Savoy") is fluent but sounds like a toy compared to the mighty (and very rare) contrabass sax, which certainly makes its presence felt on Ellington's "Ko Ko" and "Basso Profundo"; the instrument is over six feet tall! This good-humored and swinging CD will certainly stick in one's memory.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow