Phil Robson Interview

Phil is one of the top jazz guitar players in the UK and has an amazing CV including stints with Big Jon Patton, Charles Earland, David Liebman, Steve Lacy, Mark Turner, Billy Hart, Kenny Wheeler, John Taylor, Marc Copland, Wayne Krantz, Mike Gibbs, James Genus, Peter Herbert, Bob Brookmeyer, Tim Garland, Tommy Smith, Django Bates, Tom Rainey, Drew Gress, Stan Sulzmann, Jeff Williams, John Hebert, Ben Street, Duane Eubanks, Bobby Wellins, Denys Baptiste, Iain Ballamy, Donny McCaslin, Ingrid Jensen, Jean Toussaint, Cleveland Watkiss, Julian & Steve Arguelles, Gary Husband, Mike Figgis (film director), Jason Yarde, Jiggs Whigam, Sir John Dankworth & Dame Cleo Laine, & as member of BBC BB with: Joe Lovano, Patti Austin, Maceo Parker, Eliane Elias, Giavanni Hidalgo, Rufus Reid, Vince Mendoza, Madeline Bell, Horatio El Negro Hernandez, John Riley, Barbara Dennalin, Anne Hampton Callaway, Mark Murphy, Georgy Fame, Martin Taylor, Michael McDonald, Pee Wee Ellis, Sammy Nestico & Bud Shank. Lalo Shiffron, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ken Peplowski e.t.c….!!!! Check out his website and in particular have a listen to his latest release “The Immeasurable Code” EDIT: JUST NOMINATED FOR THE PARLIAMENTARY JAZZ AWARDS 2012 or catch him on tour this year. I hear a rumour he may be opening up for Pat Martino at Ronnie Scotts soon as well…!
Q: What/who were your initial influences?
My initial influences which made me really want to play guitar were rock bands, particularly Black Sabbath, Hendrix & Led Zep. The 1st people who inspired me to play jazz were Miles Davis & Barney Kessell.
Q: Are you gigging much at the moment and any projects in the pipeline?
I am doing various gigs at the moment but my big projects for 2012 are a UK CD launch tour with my band ‘The Immeasurable Code Quintet’ in September & gigging throughout the year with Christine Tobin’s amazing ‘Sailing To Byzantium’ & ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’ projects. I will post full details on my website www.philrobson.net & there is info about all my projects up there.
Q: What’s your ‘desert island’ guitar or have you got it!?
My desert island guitar would be the Gibson L5 which Pat Martino played around the late sixties/early seventies.
Q: Best (jazz guitar) gig you’ve ever seen?
4. That’s a tough one! Have seen so many great ones (Frisell, Martino, Bernstein, Scofield, Kessell, Rosenwinkle, Eubanks, Metheny etc etc). I think Kenny Burell trio was very special in Nottingham sometime around the late eighties.
Q: Which guitarist(s) would you recommend for other people to check out?
All of the ones I’ve mentioned already but I would say Kevin Eubanks to pick 1 as many people are not really aware of him. Seeing him play in trio setting with Dave Holland & Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith many times in the early nineties really changed my own direction. Ralph Towner is also very interesting. There are also many ones here in the UK which I admire such as Mike Outram, Mike Walker, Alan Weekes, Mark Ridout, Dave Okumu, Colin Oxley to name just a few & there are many really exciting young guys coming up.

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