Spike Robinson

Henry Berthold “Spike”, Robinson, tenor saxophonist, was born January 16, 1930 in Kenosha (Wisconsin) and died October 29, 2001 in Writtle (England). He started playing when he was twelve years old and recorded with many jazz and bop musicians, including Concord, Discovery, Hep, and Concord. He pursued an engineering degree, and he continued that career on a full-time basis for almost 30 years. He returned to recording music in 1981. Robinson began his career on the alto saxophone as a teenager. However, he soon realized that it was difficult to make a living playing music he liked. He joined the US Navy in 1948 as a musician. By 1950, he was living in the UK. He began to regularly play at London’s Club Eleven and Downbeat Club, along with other top UK beboppers like Tommy Pollard and Johnny Dankworth. After making a few records on Carlo Krahmer’s Esquire label, he was eventually transferred back home and demobilized. He was unhappy with Chicago’s music scene and took advantage of the GI Bill in order to study electronics engineering at university. He lived and worked for Colorado for the majority of his 30 years. He eventually returned to music, playing tenor and helping out at local clubs. Dave Grusin was a constant musical companion during these years. 1981 saw Robinson record his first recording since the London sessions. This included Vic Feldman, bassist Ray Brown, and pianist Vic Feldman. A British fan encouraged Robinson to visit the UK in 1984. He began a series tour that was so successful, he retired early from engineering to pursue a full-time music career. Robinson performed with many well-known British musicians, including Dick Morrissey and Bill Le Sage, Alec Dankworth, Bill Eyden, and drummer Bill Eyden. He continued to play at festivals and clubs throughout Europe, the UK and the USA until his New York debut in 1990. He released a series of excellent albums as a leader, but also recorded with other artists like Roy Williams, Al Cohn and Roy Williams. This album was highly praised by the public and critical alike. The mature musician, who emerged from exile in the 1980s with a bebop background, is a master ballad player and eagerly searches the vast archives of the Great American Songbook. Robinson is a tenor saxophonist of outstanding quality. His breathy, rhapsodic style and effortless swing made him instantly recognisable. Robinson began touring extensively in the 1990s from his UK base. He recorded many albums and headlined at festivals and clubs across Europe and the USA. Wikipedia

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