Perry Robinson

Perry Morris Robinson, September 17, 1938 – December 2, 2018, was an American jazz clarinetist. He was the son Earl Robinson. Robinson was born in New York City and grew up there. In the summer of 1959, he attended the Lenox School of Jazz. Robinson was a member of a U.S. military band during the 1960s. In 1962, he recorded Funk Dumpling, which he co-produced with Henry Grimes and Kenny Barron. Grimes also appeared on The Call (ESP 1026) in 1965. The album credits are given to “Henry Grimes Troo”, but Bernard Stollman, ESP-Disk label chief, wrote the liner notes. “Grimes chose Perry Robinson, a virtuoso whose contributions merit far greater recognition, to pair with them, and this recording reflects both their contributions, in equal measures. Henry Grimes/Perry Robinson would be a more accurate title. Robinson is credited with two of the six songs on the album, as well as the title track. A LP copy can be seen hanging from the wall in Half Nelson’s apartment. He has been a member of Jeanne Lee’s Galaxie Dream Band since 1973. He was a member of Dave Brubeck’s Two Generations of Brubeck, and he also played in Burton Greene’s Dutch klezmer group Klezmokum. Archie Shepp’s Mama Too Tight LP on Impulse Records featured him as the clarinetist. He has performed with his own groups and recorded albums on the Chiaroscuro and WestWind labels. He has also worked with Walter Perkins and William Parker on Bob’s Pink Cadillac, as well as several CDs on the CIMP label. Robinson was a member of Clarinet Contrast from 1975 to 1977. It featured Bernd Konrad and Theo Jorgensmann as clarinet players. Lou Grassi has recorded him as part of his PoBand in the late Nineties. He also recorded with Wayne Lopes, Luke Faust, and Lou Grassi in The Jug Jam (an improvisational jugband). He is part of a free jazz and international music trio with tabla player Badal Ray and bassist Ed Schuller. Together they recorded Raga Roni. In the MBR jazz trio, he has also played with Muruga Booker and Darius Brubeck. Robinson was also an integral part of the creation of Cosmic legends, an improvisational music/performance ensemble led by Sylvie Degiez. It included Wayne Lopes and Hayes Greenfield as well as Rashied Ali, Hayes Greenfield and Michael Hashim. He was also featured on Jeffrey Lewis’ 2005 album City and Eastern Songs, which was released on Rough Trade Records. Kramer produced it. His most recent release, OrthoFunkOlogy, was in 2008, with the band Free Funk. It also featured Muruga Booker and Badal Roy as well as Shakti Ma Booker. His autobiography Perry Robinson: The Traveler, co-authored by Florence F. Wetzel, was published in 2002.

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