I’m very excited that the ebullient and talented clarinetist Perry Robinson is coming back to town December 4 to play at The Blue Monk (3341 SE Belmont) with myself, bassist Andre St James and Seattle trombone great Marc Smason.
The son of Earl Robinson, famed songwriter and compadre of Pete Seeger, Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie, who wrote “The House I Live In,” “Joe Hill,” young Perry grew up surrounded by music of all shapes and sizes. Growing up in New York during the 1950s, he was exposed to a rich array of jazz, including the music of Tony Scott, who would become an early influence. Awarded a scholarship to the radical Lenox School of Jazz, Perry soon found himself in the orbit of Ornette Coleman and Don Cherry, George Russell, Herb Pomeroy, Bill Evans, Max Roach, Kenny Dorham as well as the entire Modern Jazz Quartet who were in residence that summer.
He recorded his first album as a leader in 1962 in Newark for Savoy Records with a very young Kenny Barron on piano, bassist Henry Grimes, and Bill Evans Trio drummer Paul Motian. He recorded with Grimes again in 1965 for the ESP label in a trio setting. Later forming important alliances with New Thing musicians, Perry worked with Bill Dixon, recorded with Archie Shepp on his 1966 album Mama Too Tight and worked with the Jazz Composers Orchestra in the early 1970s and participated in the Liberation Music Orchestra, led by bassist Charlie Haden. Throughout the 1970s, Perry worked with German multi-instrumentalist Gunter Hampel, along with vocalist Jeanne Lee, drummer Steve McCall and wind players Mark Whitecage and Thomas Keyserling. Since then, Perry has been leading his own groups as well as appearing on recordings of Clarinet Summit with Alvin Batiste, John Carter, with William Parker, and with pianist Anat Fort, among others.
Suffice to say, it’s a pleasure to have him back in these parts, and an honor to be able to play with him once again!