Recent Listening In Brief: Free Scott Robinson

In a pair of duo albums the protean Robinson confines himself to 10 instruments from his arsenal. Afar_coverAlphabetically, they range from alto sax to zither, sonically from the rumbling contrabass saxophone to the altissimo twittering of the sopranino sax. His accompanists are pianists, although in Záhadná Emil Viklický also plays organ and solovox and in Afar Frank Kimbrough doubles on electronic harpsichord, clavioline and two kinds of organ. As for the music, you were expecting maybe the Great American Songbook? Well——no.

Robinson, Viklický and Kimbrough are masters of chord-based invention, but these albums from Robinson’s ScienSonic label are mostly free improvisation. In Záhadná there are also musings on a few folk melodiesZahadna_cover from Viklický’s native Moravia. The haunting “Ej, Lásko, Lásko,” with Robinson playing C melody sax, is a highlight. Little pieces played with abandon in eight pastiches called “Honička” (Czech for “chase”), live up to their title. Altogether, the music is packed with insights into the workings of three unconventional minds. In Czech, “Záhadná” means “mystery” or “eeriness.” These CDs have not only mystery, but also wit, profundity and remarkable musical sensibilities interacting with the speed of thought.

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  1. says

    Eric, he IS a genius, He need only smile…

    I don’t think I’ve ever met/heard a more wide-ranging person. Maybe Dick Wellstood…not that HE was a genius. (Maybe a Genie? Wellstood’s talents answered a lot of MY wishes.)

  2. .Don Conner says

    What in the name of Frankie Trumbauer is going on? I realize that Scott can play any instrument from a pipe organ to a stillson wrench. I’m still trying to get Ornette Coleman & that goes back to 1959. I’m still not sure how you feel about it, Doug. You say that it’s witty and profound. So is my oldest brother. I’ve gotta hear those chords. I feel that your review was damning with very faint praise.

    • Doug Ramsey says

      I haven’t heard your oldest brother, so I’ll have to take your word for it that he’s witty and profound. Apparently, you haven’t heard the Robinson CDs, so until you do you’ll have to take my word for it that the music on them has wit and profundity.

      Praise, yes. Damnation, no.