Posts Tagged Phil Robson
We are getting incredibly excited about the forthcoming jazz guitar weekend in Wrexham May 15th-17th. See you there!
A couple of days ago Sheryl Bailey and Phil Robson had a play at the workshop that Sheryl was hosting thanks to the great work that the folks at the London Jazz Guitar Society are doing. Wish I had been able to make it down but at least there was a bit of video to watch!
I’ve been lucky to see and play some great gigs this year; below are some of the highlights.
Jim Mullen in Nottingham in February, legendary UK guitarist with a smoking rhythm section, in particular a very nice version of the Lennon tune “Love”
In April I saw Jonathon Kreisberg in Birmingham with his trio, other worldly jazz guitar sounds. I was intrigued by him putting his hand in (olive?) oil in between all the tunes, not seen hand lubing like it! Also got to hang out with Howard Alden in Wales and had a little play as well, what a complete jazz guitarist, amazing. In May I had the pleasure of Sheryl Bailey as a house guest for a week and we got to have many jams in the sweltering UK summer, yes, it was the one really hot week we had… Did a gig with her as well on the Sunday which was great fun. Sheryl has worked so hard and got to such a great standard of musicality, I urge anyone to search out her albums. In July I saw Pat Metheny at the Barbican with Antonio Sanchez, Chris Potter and a bass player Ben ? What an incredible band, Pat puts on such a great show and displayed every side of his complex music from solo acoustic to Orchestrion to full on wig out, legend. October I got to see a band I’ve always wanted to check out, the amazing Soulive with the smooth but funky guitar of Eric Krasno. All three are just incredible musicians and play so well and tight, we had unbelievable seats at Ronnie Scotts, my leg was literally resting on the stage next to Neal’s heavyweight Hammond/Clavinet/bass keys set up. I still think I’m deaf from the Ampeg/Vox AC30 and Leslie combos…This month I’ve caught 2 gigs with one of the UK’s best guitarists Phil Robson who is a good friend; man what a smoking player!
Playing wise I’ve done 35 gigs this year (up to now) which have been great fun, still got a residency at Number Five in Derby and done plenty of gigs with the Moja Quartet and various quartets including the Tea Curfew organ band.
I hope to meet and have interaction with of few more of you next year, stay in touch!
All the best, Dan
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.
My initial influence from the perspective of the guitar starts with Jimi Hendrix. He, like other similar artists opened up the guitars capability. Working alongside Dan influenced the majority of music and artists I listen to today. During this time I have been introduced to: Indian music through Shakti with John Mclaughin, Flamenco/Classical music, and most importantly Jazz The players that have influenced me in Jazz are: George Benson, Johnny Smith, Barney Kessel, Jim Hall, Ted Greene, Lenny Breau, Joe Pass, Wes Montgomery and Dan Johnson.
Currently I can only seem to manage a couple of gigs a month. We are very lucky to even have this opportunity to play the music we want too, rather than ‘restaurant’ music. Most of my time is spent in the woodshed at the moment as well as balancing all the things that are happening right now. I have been enjoying a duo with a bass player recently as this really encourages me to stretch my ideas over the course of an evening whilst attempting to keep interest. A future project would be to build on this format, coaxing the many possibilities with a view to perform more and record.
I am always lusting after guitars and over the years have owned many different types. Currently I am playing a D’aquisto Jazzline Junior (Japan), with its laminate construction and size the guitar is very comfortable to play and handles loud volume. The ‘Desert Island’ guitar would be the Tom Painter P-16 with its fantastic sound, although I would imagine the Benedetto guitars would certainly tempt anyone.
JAZZ GUITAR GIG
Joe Giglio w/ Bucky Pizzarelli, New York at the 107 West, circa 2006. This was perhaps the most significant gig of them all. It was my first time in NYC, taking in the wonderful surroundings, with a developing curiosity for Jazz. The warm reception I received from Joe, not to mention the extravagant guitar playing that I was blown away by, made my mind up on the music I wanted to study and enjoy. I have also had the opportunity to see Pat Metheny, Pat Martino, George Benson, John Mclaughlin, Phil Robson, Howard Alden, Jack Wilkins and many more.
I would always seek ‘local’ players out to share ideas with……… and hopefully gigs!! As well as the tremendous players listed above I would suggest: Tony DeCaprio, Sheryl Bailey, Tuck Andress, Gary Potter, Jimmy Bruno. Two players that amaze me with their ability to capture the essence of Bill Evans on the guitar are: Stephen Anderson and Sid Jacobs.
What/who were your initial influences?
I originally got into jazz through the Jazz/Funk scene and the resurgence of jazz/funk/soul compilations in the 90’s. A lot of that music had become cheap for people to put out on albums as it wasn’t popular at the time so there was loads of one hit wonders and vaults of stuff that was available for release. I was (and still am) a massive James Brown fan and found very quickly that a lot could be learnt about phrasing from the Godfather of soul and Grant Green. Those two shaped my early woeful attempts at playing jazz, least I had some idea of phrasing if not any idea what was going on harmonically! I used to (and still do!) see Phil Robson play loads of gigs in Derby and he’s always playing great, encouraging and sets a high standard to try and get to! These days I seem to listen to lots of sax players.
Are you gigging much at the moment and any projects in the pipeline?
I am gigging as much as I have time and creative energy for which is usually 2 or 3 a month or so depending on whats happening. It’s not a great deal but I do have a full time job as well. Currently I play with a modal, slightly odd, Hammond jazz quartet as well as guesting with various duos and trios. I would like to try and get a gtr/upright bass/drums combo together, I’ve got a plan of who to use and ideas for tunes are coming together slowly…!
What’s your ‘desert island’ guitar or have you got it!?
Well guitarwise I think I’ve got it with my Eastman T146SMD, it’s light responsive and got a great sound. Weirdly (working where I do) I’m not a great gear head when it comes to chopping and changing guitars all the time, I try to get something good and stick with it. I occasionally think I’d like a Benedetto Bravo, but they’re very expensive and might not give me the sound I want, I prefer having a bit of lightness to the sound rather than the traditional Joe Pass type of 175 sound. Don’t get me wrong, I love that sound but it just doesn’t work for me.
Best (jazz guitar) gig you’ve ever seen?
Difficult one….for out and out jazz guitar I think the Pat Martino at Ronnies was great, but I equally enjoyed the 2 times I’ve seen John McLaughlin with Shakti. Special mention to a set I saw George Benson do in California, wow!
Which guitarist(s) would you recommend for other people to check out?
I recently stumbled upon Adam Rogers who is great, I see him as a guitarist who is taking on the Brecker torch. He covers the whole spectrum of modern jazz and has got such facility on the instrument that he can seemingly just think aloud spontaneously through his instrument.